The White House Has Addressed Oprah's Possible 2020 Presidential Bid


The White House has said it welcomes Oprah Winfrey to challenge President Donald Trump for office, potentially setting up a tantalizing showdown between the two TV icons in 2020.

"We welcome the challenge, whether it be Oprah Winfrey or anybody else," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Ms Winfrey delivered a powerful speech on Sunday at the Golden Globes that brought men and women to their feet. During an impassioned monologue, the actress and talk show host discussed racism, sexism and the #MeToo movement as well as honoured Rosa Parks and the late Civil Rights icon Recy Taylor.

"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. Their time is up!"  Ms Winfrey said, leading to a standing ovation.

Her remarks have prompted speculation that she will run in 2020, and many on social media have begun calling on the TV legend to announce her presidential bid using the hashtag "#Oprah2020".

Golden Globes host Seth Meyers jokingly forbade the 63-year-old from running for president, noting he did the same with Donald Trump in 2011.

At the event, Ms Winfrey said she had no plan to run for the White House. But her partner Stedman Graham, told the LA Times: "It's up to the people. She would absolutely do it."

Ms Winfrey is a favourite in liberal circles and campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008. In 2016, she endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

During Ms Clinton's campaign, she discussed the prospect of a female president and said "America, it's about time that we made that decision."

While Mr Trump and Ms Winfrey may be miles apart on the political spectrum, they have certain things in common.

Like Mr Trump before he took office, Ms Winfrey also has deep pockets, limited experience in politics and instant name recognition. They both also had their own television shows and worked to build their own empires.

Ms Winfrey is currently the chief executive of the cable channel OWN, a "special correspondent" for the CBS newsmagazine "60 Minutes" and an investor in companies such as Weight Watchers.

While introducing Ms Winfrey at the Golden Globes, actress Reese Witherspoon alluded to her friend's supreme status: "There's only one person whose name is a verb, an adjective, and a feeling. And that is Oprah."

During an interview with the billionaire and entrepreneur on Bloomberg last March, interviewer David Rubenstein broached the possibility of her running for president, saying "It's clear you don't need government experience to be elected president of the United States."

Ms Winfrey indicated a similar thought had crossed her mind following Mr Trump's victory: "I thought, 'Oh gee, I don't have the experience, I don't know enough.' And now I'm thinking, 'Oh. Oh!'"

While the support appears to be broadening for Ms Winfrey's possible presidential bid, the next election is still three years away. Mr Trump has yet to announce he is running again in 2020, although he has already held multiple campaign-style events over the past year.