Karine Jean-Pierre
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WATCH: Rick Santorum Would Accept Caitlyn Jenner's Support, But Does He Accept Her?

WATCH: Rick Santorum Would Accept Caitlyn Jenner's Support, But Does He Accept Her?

Ultraconservative and generally anti-LGBT politician Rick Santorum is still hedging about whether he supports Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transition, but he would nonetheless be happy to have her endorsement in the presidential election.

When Jenner, the former Olympic athlete once known as Bruce Jenner, came out as a transgender woman, she also revealed she’s a Republican, and many have wondered if she’ll find acceptance in the party. Thursday night, CNN’s Erin Burnett asked Santorum, a former U.S. senator who’s seeking the Republican presidential nomination, if he welcomes Jenner to the GOP. This came after she played a clip of another contender for the nomination, Sen. Lindsey Graham, saying he’s happy to have Jenner in the party.

“If Caitlyn Jenner wanted to endorse me, would I accept the endorsement?” Santorum responded. “The answer is, if that’s the way she feels about my candidacy, sure.”

But when Burnett pressed Santorum on whether he accepts Jenner herself as well as her endorsement and vote, he fell back on boilerplate language. “My job as a human being is to treat everybody with dignity and respect,” he said.

Shortly after Jenner’s April coming-out interview with Diane Sawyer, Santorum told reporters he recognizes Jenner as a woman, then a few days later walked that back by saying, “I know what obviously and biologically he is. That doesn’t change by himself identifying himself. His genetics and DNA isn’t changing, but out of respect, as you said, I’m not going to argue if Bruce Jenner’s a woman with Bruce Jenner. I’m going to treat him with dignity and respect, and that’s what I said.” At that time he also said his comments were “meant to express empathy” and “not a change in public policy.”

Watch the CNN clip below.

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