Media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s rousing speech on race and gender at the Golden Globes Awards ceremony on Monday has led to rampant speculation and calls for her to consider a presidential bid in the United States in 2020.
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men,” Winfrey said, leading to a standing ovation. “But their time is up. Their time is up.” Time’s Up is also the name of the movement that has been launched to legally fight sexual harassment and rape following the revelations against Harvey Weinstein.
Winfrey, who won the Cecil B DeMille Award for lifetime achievement on Monday, is the first black woman to be given the honour.
Soon after the speech, Winfrey told Bloomberg that she does not plan to run. “I don’t...I don’t,” the 63-year-old billionaire said when she was told that “Oprah 2020” and “Oprah For President” were trending on Twitter.
However, her longtime partner Stedman Graham said “she would absolutely do it”, according to The Los Angeles Times. “It’s up to the people,” Graham said.
Actress Meryl Streep also endorsed Winfrey. “She launched a rocket tonight. I want her to run for president,” Streep told The Washington Post. “I don’t think she had any intention [of declaring]. But now she doesn’t have a choice.”
However, US President Donald Trump weighed in Tuesday on fevered speculation about Oprah’s potential 2020 White House bid, saying she probably would not run against him, but if she did, he would win.
"I'll beat Oprah," Trump said of the Oscar-nominated actress and talk show host.
"I like Oprah," he said, noting that he had appeared on her long-running afternoon program.
"I know her very well," he said, before adding: "I don't think she's going to run."
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was also drawn into the speculation on Tuesday about a potential Winfrey candidacy.
Asked by a reporter whether she had any advice for an "outsider" considering a White House run, Sanders said: "I'm not going to focus on anyone's campaign other than President 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'll have help with that," Sanders added.
Sanders was also asked whether she believed Winfrey was qualified to run for president.
"Look, I disagree very much on her policies," the spokeswoman said. "Is she a successful individual? Absolutely.
"But in terms of where she stands on a number of positions, I would find a lot of problems with that," Sanders said. "But that would be something she would have to determine and lay out if she made a decision to run."