WASHINGTON — Ask members on Capitol Hill their thoughts about Bruce Jenner’s conversion into a woman known as “Caitlyn” and things can get a little uncomfortable.
Many Republicans and Democrats remember Jenner as a 1976 Olympic athlete who won the gold medal in the men’s decathalon for the United States. Jenner’s conversion was shown on the cover of Vanity Fair, which was released to the public Monday morning.
“I’m afraid I don’t have any comment on that,” Georgia Democratic Rep. David Scott said with a guffaw to The Daily Caller on Monday. “I didn’t see [the photo].”
Most members reacted similarly to Scott. South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy told TheDC he saw the Vanity Fair cover photo but, “There’s not a thing in the world that I will say about Bruce Jenner—not a thing in the world.”
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain was more than happy to talk about issues relating to the USA Freedom Act until the Jenner issue was brought up.
“I have no thoughts [on it],” he said.
Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson was curt when he responded, “No. No response whatsoever.”
Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse talked about climate change on Tuesday, but when asked by TheDC if he had any thoughts about Jenner becoming “Caitlyn” he responded, “nope.” Whitehouse refused to talk about transgender issues in general.
Other members of Congress looked at the issue as something personal and did not elaborate much.
Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin told TheDC that he did see the Vanity Fair cover but that Jenner’s decision was a “personal one” and left it at that.
Connecticut Democratic Rep. Rosa Delauro responded similarly saying, “Oh, those are very personal decisions. I won’t comment on that.”
Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash and Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie flew down the capitol steps on Monday telling TheDC that they only get their dose of pop culture from the Drudge Report, so they did not give much thought to the Jenner story.
When TheDC pointed out that the Bruce Jenner story was on the banner of Drudge all day, Amash corrected TheDC saying, “You mean Caitlyn Jenner.”
TheDC was not the only one to refer to Jenner by both genders. Members caught themselves too when responding. Additionally, a few blessed Jenner or America in their responses.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin scurried away from TheDC as he said, “I don’t have anything to say about that-nothing at all — God bless him — or her.”
“God bless him. God bless him,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would only say about Jenner’s gender conversion on Tuesday.
“God Bless America. That’s my first reaction. It’s a beautiful country and so we accept people for what they are and we should not try to lead people’s lives and God Bless America. I say that—It’s strange for me to know that he—she, rather was the athlete that I knew and I don’t think the natural response like, ‘So what?’ It’s a great country. I support whatever people want to be,” Democratic New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell told TheDC, gesturing like one of the “wild and crazy guys” from Saturday Night Live of the 1970’s.
He added, “I don’t think there should be laws telling people what they should be and I wish him well and I wish him luck. I’m sure he has gone through a tremendous amount of — or she’s gone through many psychological passages and every one of us go has through these passages — even when we look ‘normal.’”
When shown the photo for the first time, others were just amazed.
“That’s not — huh? That’s incredible,” Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers told The Daily Caller, as he wondered what the former decathlete’s profession was presently. “Gee whiz. I’m speechless. I suppose if I met somebody like that and didn’t know, I’d say, ‘Wow, what’s going on?’”
Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch simply said, “Look, he has a right to do it if he wants to do it,” while Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva and Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks did not want to comment.