U.S. President Donald Trump has responded to speculation that media mogul Oprah Winfrey may be considering a run for president in 2020. Trump asserted that he would win a contest against Winfrey but was skeptical that she would even mount a campaign.
On Jan. 8, Winfrey gave a fiery condemnation of sexual assault and harassment while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globe Awards.
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men, but their time is up … I want all the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon,” Winfrey said, according to The Guardian.
Winfrey’s speech was well-received on social media and stoked speculation that she would be a viable Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential race.
On Jan. 9, CBS News host Gayle King, a close friend and confidant of Winfrey, signaled that rumors of the mogul harboring presidential ambitions were not unfounded, but also said such a run was unlikely to happen.
“I do think she’s intrigued by the idea … 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 said on “CBS This Morning.”
Later that morning, Trump was asked about a possible Winfrey run during a White House meeting with congressional leaders, NBC News reports.
“Yeah, I’ll beat Oprah,” Trump responded. “Oprah would be a lot of fun. I know her very well.”
The president added: “I like Oprah … I don’t think she’s going to run.”
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that the Trump administration would likely be opposed to many of Winfrey’s policy positions if she chose to announce them.
“Is she a successful individual?” Sanders said. “Absolutely. In terms of where she stands, I’d find a lot of problems with that.”
Trump has previously been highly complimentary of Winfrey. In 1999, he stated during an interview that he would select Winfrey as his vice presidential nominee if he decided to run in the 2000 election.
“Oprah would always be my first choice … If she’d do it, she’d be fantastic,” Trump told CNN at the time. “I mean, she’s popular, she’s brilliant, she’s a wonderful woman.”
In March 2017, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 69 percent of registered voters did not want Winfrey to run for president in 2020, while 21 percent were in favor of the idea.