POLITICS

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham: Caitlyn Jenner Is 'Welcome In My Party'

06/07/2015 12:43 pm ET | Updated Jun 08, 2015

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Caitlyn Jenner is welcome in the Republican Party -- and he'd even like to have her vote for him in 2016.

“If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be safe and have a prosperous economy, vote for me. I’m into addition," he said during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union." "I haven’t walked into her shoes. I don’t have all the answers to the mysteries of life. I can only imagine the torment that Bruce Jenner went through. I hope he’s -- I hope she has found peace."

"I’m a pro-life, traditional marriage kind of guy," he added. "But I’m running to be president of the United States. If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be a Republican, she is welcome in my party.”

Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner came out as transgender in April. Last week, Jenner introduced herself to the world as Caitlyn, appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair and discussing her transition in an article in the magazine.

The GOP presidential candidates' responses to Jenner's news have been mixed .

Appearing on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) -- a prospective presidential candidate -- declined to weigh in on Jenner, saying her transition was a "personal decision."

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), long known for his socially conservative positions, recently said of Jenner, "If he says he’s a woman, then he’s a woman. My responsibility as a human being is to love and accept everybody. Not to criticize people for who they are. I can criticize, and I do, for what people do, for their behavior."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), meanwhile, faced criticism for joking earlier this year that he should have pretended to be transgender in school "when it came time to take showers in PE.”

“For those who do not think that we are under threat, simply recognize that the fact that we are now in city after city watching ordinances say that your 7-year-old daughter, if she goes into the restroom, cannot be offended and you can’t be offended if she’s greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man," said Huckabee earlier this year on video that was just recently posted online.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) shot back that Huckabee shouldn't be so judgmental.

President Barack Obama also tweeted last week that Jenner has shown "courage."

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