Oprah not ‘actively considering’ 2020 run, says close friend Gayle King

Posted on: January 9th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Adding to the excited chatter over an Oprah Winfrey presidential run in 2020 — or perhaps putting it to bed — Gayle King, Oprah’s best friend and CBS co-anchor, weighed in on 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 an Oprah 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.

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 Oprah run muddies the waters over a quote in the Los Angeles Times from Oprah’s longtime partner, Stedman Graham, that Oprah would “absolutely do it.”

On that, 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.” The co-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 Oprah’s name has been tossed into the political ring. In fact, she was brought into the mix almost 20 years ago by current President Donald Trump.

Trump, then in his early 50’s and campaigning in the presidential race of 2000, said Oprah would “always be his first choice” for vice president. He praised her again in 2015, calling her a friend.

The president acknowledged the speculation Tuesday, responding to a question about whether he could beat Winfrey during a bipartisan meeting with senators at the White House.

“Yeah, I’ll beat Oprah” he said, before adding that he didn’t think the fellow billionaire was going to run, but that she “would be a lot of fun.”

“I know her very well,” Trump said. “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.”

Oprah’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.”

Oprah 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,” Oprah 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 said.

King and Oprah 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 [Oprah] 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.

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