As speculation continues to swirl about an Oprah Winfrey presidential run in the aftermath of her rousing Golden Globes speech, President Donald Trump waded into the conversation Tuesday, saying she didn’t think the media mogul would launch a campaign, but that if she did, he would defeat her.
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“Yeah, I’ll beat Oprah” Trump said from the White House in response to questions about his fellow billionaire’s possible political ambitions. He then shared his opinion that he didn’t think Winfrey would run but that she “would be a lot of fun.”
“I know her very well,” the president added. “You know, I did one of her last shows. She had Donald Trump — this was before politics — her last week, and she had Donald Trump and my family. It was very nice… I like Oprah.”
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Trump’s remarks followed comments from Winfrey’s close friend and “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Gayle King, who weighed in on the topic and downplayed the notion Tuesday morning.
“I don’t think at this point she is considering it, but listen, there are people who have said they want to be her campaign manager, who want to quit their jobs and campaign for her,” King said on “CBS This Morning.”
“She loves this country and would like to be of service in some way, but I don’t think that she’s actively considering it,” King told her co-anchors.
But King did acknowledge a glimmer of hope for those dreaming of a Winfrey bid: “I do think she’s intrigued by the idea. I do think that. I do think that after years of watching ‘The Oprah Show,’ you always have a right to change your mind,” she said.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump (C) presides over a meeting about immigration with Republican and Democrat members of Congress, Jan. 9, 2018, in Washington.
And after some pushing and prodding from her co-anchors, King said she agreed. “Will she run for president? I think it’s a very very intriguing idea myself.”
King’s denial of an Winfrey run muddies the waters over a quote given to the Los Angeles Times Sunday by Winfrey’s longtime partner, Stedman Graham, that she would “absolutely do it.”
On that point, King said Graham thought the reporter was asking if she would be a good president, not if she would run for president — though that doesn’t fully explain why he would respond she would absolutely “do it,” herco-anchors pushed back.
“He is nothing but supportive, he would never just throw it out there like that,” King said.
This isn’t the first time Winfrey’s name has been tossed into the political ring. In fact, she was brought into the mix almost 20 years ago by Trump. Then in his early 50’s and campaigning as a Reform Party candidate in the 2000 presidential race, Trump said she would “always be his first choice” for vice president. He praised her again in 2015, calling Winfrey a friend.
Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty ImagesGayle King and Oprah Winfrey at the opening of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture, taped at the Kennedy Center in Washington, Sept. 23, 2016.
Winfrey’s presidential history also extends to the previous administration. She campaigned with the then-Senator Barack Obama in Iowa in 2008.
But while her Golden Globes speech certainly struck a chord, and, as King described it, was “the right person giving the right speech at the right time,” it wasn’t written “as a launching pad for what she wants to do.”
Winfrey hasn’t personally given a clear answer on a presidential run since the speech, but she publicly ruled it out as recently as three months ago.
“There will be no running for office of any kind for me,” Winfrey said on “CBS This Morning” back in October of 2017, flanked by her friend King.
King reiterated that statement Tuesday morning: “I absolutely don’t think that her position has changed. I don’t.”
King and Winfrey have a longstanding friendship. They were recently in Hawaii together celebrating King’s birthday with both of their families.
On the show Tuesday morning, King said she “was up talking to [Winfrey] very late last night.” She was also there to watch the speech live at the Golden Globes.
“Being in that room I will say this. Being in that room was electrifying,” King said.