Oprah Winfrey is “actively thinking” about running for president, two of her close friends told CNN on Monday.
The two friends, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely, talked in the wake of Winfrey’s extraordinary speech at the Golden Globes Sunday night, which spurred chatter about a 2020 run.
Some of Winfrey’s confidants have been privately urging her to run, the sources said.
One of the sources said these conversations date back several months. The person emphasised that Winfrey had not made up her mind about running.
A representative of Winfrey has not responded to requests for comment.
The Democratic race for president will not officially begin until after the 2018 midterms, but many potential candidates are already jostling for position and making trips to Iowa.
“President Winfrey” was the talk of the entertainment world after Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes. And the “Oprah for president?” possibility was a top story on morning TV.
The touchstone of her speech was the #MeToo movement. But her hopeful message — “A new day is on the horizon” — could have doubled as a campaign rallying cry.
Many liberal-leaning celebrities and viewers certainly heard it that way. And that may have been exactly what Winfrey wanted.
As some political strategists have pointed out in the past year, her fame and wealth could make her a formidable Democratic Party candidate. But insiders have their doubts too: Would Americans really choose a TV star as president twice in a row?
For now, it’s all just talk. But her fans demonstrated a lot of wishful thinking on Twitter and Facebook after her speech.
Winfrey had deflected questions about a presidential run in the past, but she has also acknowledged that President Trump’s election upended assumptions about how to pursue political office.
After the speech, Winfrey’s longtime partner Stedman Graham was quoted saying a run is a possibility.
“It’s up to the people,” Graham told a Los Angeles Times reporter. “She would absolutely do it.”
Winfrey campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008 and endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016. During Clinton’s campaign, she discussed the prospect of a female president and said “America, it’s about time that we made that decision.”
She said it would be a “seminal moment for women.” But the moment has yet to happen — which is one of the reasons Sunday’s speech stirred so much attention.
Winfrey has deep pockets, an even deeper well of charisma, and instant name recognition, thanks to decades on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Reese Witherspoon alluded to her friend’s superstar status while introducing her at the Globes: “There’s only one person whose name is a verb, an adjective, and a feeling. And that is Oprah.”