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The actress and entertainment mogul delivered a rousing speech during Sunday night’s annual Golden Globe Awards, earning three standing ovations and resurfacing speculation that Winfrey is eyeing a 2020 presidential run. The moment, a highlight of the night, was the most talked-about speech, with Monday morning news show debating the chances that Winfrey will actually run. On CNN Newsroom, pundits debated the chances of a Winfrey-Joe Biden ticket.
Golden Globes host Seth Meyers had joked during his opening monologue that when he called Donald Trump “unqualified” to be president during the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011, his jab may have convinced the mogul to run. If that is the case, Meyers told Winfrey during the awards show: “So if that’s true, I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president! You do not have what it takes!” He then said same about Tom Hanks’ — another star Democrats have thrown into the Hollywood speculation ring — chances of ever being vice president.
During Winfrey’s speech later in the night, she made history as the first black woman to be honored with the annual Cecil B. DeMille Award since it was first handed out in 1952, and directly addressed the current climate, projecting a time when “nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again.”
Though Winfrey has previously denied that she plans to run for office, the night refueled the conversation, with her longtime partner Stedman Graham even telling the L.A. Times: “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.” Meryl Streep also issued an endorsement, telling The Washington Post: “She launched a rocket tonight. I want her to run for president. I don’t think she had any intention. But now she doesn’t have a choice.” When asked about the viral moment — #Winfrey2020 was trending on Twitter — Winfrey gave a quick dismissal about running to Bloomberg.
When NBC, which aired the awards show, tweeted from its main Twitter account a GIF of Winfrey from the awards show with the caption, “Nothing but respect for OUR future president,” many on Twitter were left confused. Some didn’t understand the implication of the all-capped “OUR” in the tweet, questioning if the network wanted Winfrey to be president of NBC Universal. Others questioned NBC’s ability to be nonpartisan after the tweet.
Trump Jr., whose father was only a quiet target during the big Hollywood night, shared NBC’s tweet early Monday morning, saying, “In case anyone had any doubts about where the media stands this should take care of it. The bias against @realDonaldTrump is now so obvious they have simply given up hiding it. Can you trust anything they say at this point?”
NBC deleted the tweet early Monday morning, around 7:30 a.m. PT, saying the post was sent out by a third party and not meant to be a political statement.
“The tweet was sent out by a third party agency for NBC Entertainment in real time during the live broadcast,” said a spokesperson in a statement on Monday. “It is in reference to a joke made during the opening monologue and not meant to be a political statement. We have since removed the tweet.”
In his past, President Donald Trump has voiced his support for Winfrey, telling Larry King in 1999 that she would be his first choice for a running mate if he ran. “If she’d do it, she’d be fantastic. She’s popular, she’s brilliant, she’s a wonderful woman,” he said. In 2015 shortly after announcing his candidacy, Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he thought he would “win easily” with her on his ticket. “I’d love to have Oprah,” he said.
On Monday afternoon, Trump had yet to tweet his thoughts but White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters aboard Air Force One, “We welcome the challenge whether it be Oprah Winfrey or anybody else.”
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 8, 2018
Jan. 8, 7:40 a.m. Updated with NBC statement.
1:40 p.m. Updated with White House statement.
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