Following entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey’s rousing speech at the Golden Globes, speculation of a potential Winfrey 2020 presidential bid set social media on fire. Her speech ignited the internet, many leaping to the conclusion that the beloved television personality could take on Trump, himself a reality TV star, in the next election.
“I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights,” Winfrey preached. “So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon!”
On Tuesday, President Trump said he could beat Winfrey in the 2020 presidential race should she decide to run, which he believes she won’t.
“Yeah, I’ll beat Oprah. Oprah will be lots of fun,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with lawmakers about immigration. “I don’t think she’s going to run.”
At the Oval Office on Tuesday, Trump reminded reporters that he was a guest on one of Winfrey’s last shows.
“I like Oprah,” he said.
In the past, Trump has expressed his admiration for Winfrey. In 1999, he mentioned her as a potential running mate if he ever decided to run for president.
The idea of a Winfrey candidacy has invigorated Democrats, many of which see her as the perfect foil to Trump.
Despite being a strong African-American woman and rape survivor who grew up in poverty with the unique ability to authentically connect with ordinary Americans through the media, some liberals have advised Democrats against becoming blindsided by Winfrey’s celebrity- arguing instead that the party already has a pool of highly qualified women that are already politically involved.
Although initial reports appeared to strongly indicate that Winfrey was seriously considering taking the presidential plunge, some of those in her inner-circle have dampened the notion.
On Tuesday, Gayle King, a close friend of Winfrey, said that Winfrey finds the idea “intriguing” but suggested that she doesn’t believe Winfrey is actually considering it right now.
While Winfrey’s partner, Stedman Graham, was initially quoted as saying that Winfrey “absolutely” would run, he has since clarified that his remarks were taken out of context and he only meant to express that she would “absolutely” make a great president if she did run.
Later in a briefing on Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down on Trump’s previous statements, saying that she herself won’t focus on anyone’s campaign other than Trump’s re-election.
“I’m sure if she decides to run, which I think the president states he doesn’t feel she will, I’m sure she will have help with that,” Sanders said.
When asked about Winfrey’s qualifications for the job, Sanders admitted that she “very much” disagreed with her policies.
“Is she a successful individual? Absolutely,” Sanders said. “But in terms of where she stands on a number of positions, I would find a lot of problems with that. But that would be something she would have to determine and lay out if she made a decision to run and what that campaign would look like.”