Among the Christmas gifts I gave myself last year, deciding to no longer care about Caitlyn Jenner was one of my favorites. I wrapped that box back in December, in the wake of yet another spate of wildly tone-deaf remarks and PR clean-up. That gift keeps on giving to this day, but I must make an exception for certain comments found in the new profile of Jenner in the Advocate, if only for their utter insanity.
Jenner is currently out and about promoting the second season of her reality show I Am Cait, which follows the star and the squad she calls her “girls”—a group of notable trans women who for some reason associate with her—around as she interacts with humans and pretends to learn things. I say “pretends,” because all this learning and growing is clearly not sticking. At some point in every Jenner interview I have encountered, there’s a moment when the façade of support group earnestness and right-on talking points cracks, and the real woman peeks through. In this one, it’s when Jenner, a member of arguably the most marginalized group of people in America, suggests that Ted Cruz, a member of the party who actively despises that group, would be a good candidate for president. Here’s the full exchange with journalist Dawn Ennis:
So who does she support for the nomination? I ask.
“I like Ted Cruz,” [Jenner] declares. “I think he’s very conservative, and a great constitutionalist, and a very articulate man. I haven’t endorsed him or anything like that. But I also think, he’s an evangelical Christian, and probably one of the worst ones when it comes to trans issues.”
“I get it. The Democrats are better when it comes to these types of social issues. I understand that.” So why support Republicans? “Number one, if we don’t have a country, we don’t have trans issues. We need jobs. We need a vibrant economy. I want every trans person to have a job. With $19 trillion in debt and it keeps going up, we’re spending money we don’t have. Eventually, it’s going to end. And I don’t want to see that. Socialism did not build this country. Capitalism did. Free enterprise. The people built it. And they need to be given the opportunity to build it back up.”
Jenner reveals she met Cruz prior to her transition, more than a year ago, “and he was very nice.”
“Wouldn’t it be great, let’s say he goes on to be president,” she tells me in relating a conversation on the tour bus. “And I have all my girls on a trans issues board to advise him on making decisions when it comes to trans issues. Isn’t that a good idea?” she asked me.
“You’re going to be Ted Cruz’s trans ambassador?”
“Yes, trans ambassador to the president of the United States, so we can say, ‘Ted, love what you’re doing but here’s what’s going on.’”
She wasn’t joking.
That she wasn’t joking should be more than enough reason, for those who still need it, to summarily cease looking to this person on issues of social justice. Leaving aside her LOL analysis of capitalism, job discrimination (hint: it’s not the economy keeping trans folks on the margins of the workforce), and what “built this country,” here’s what’s actually going on: Ted Cruz has deployed transphobia at multiple times in his (probably doomed) campaign, readily taking part in the ongoing right-wing demagoguery around trans people’s request to pee where their gender identity dictates. “I don’t want my daughters taking showers with little boys,” he creepily told an interviewer back in November.
ThinkProgress’ Zack Ford has a post with more of Cruz’s anti-trans rhetoric should you wish to wallow, but the point is this: Regardless of how “nice” Cruz was to Jenner in person, he is not nice to trans or LGBTQ people in general, nor is he going to be if he makes it to the Oval Office. That Jenner would find it possible to even joke about taking her girls into a GOP-run White House—where, it’s worth remembering, they’d probably be arrested for going to the women’s room—to “advise” anyone evinces a disconnect with reality that borders on the tragic. Giving this woman any more attention only compounds that tragedy—so let’s don’t.