×

Gayle King: Oprah Winfrey Not Considering 2020 Bid, but Is ‘Intrigued’ by Idea

UPDATED: “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King said she does not think that her best friend Oprah Winfrey has changed her mind about running for president. Publicly, she has dismissed the idea.

King said she talked to Winfrey on Monday, after a day of speculation about her intentions following her speech at the Golden Globes Awards. The response was so great, it generated talk in traditional and social media throughout the day on the possibility of her running in 2020.

“I absolutely don’t think her position has changed,” King said on “CBS This Morning.” “I was up talking to her late last night. I do think she was intrigued by the idea. I do think that. I also know that after years of watching the ‘Oprah show,’ you always have the right to change your mind. I don’t think at this point she is actually considering it.”

King also tried to explain what Winfrey’s longtime partner, Stedman Graham, meant when he told the Los Angeles Times that “it’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.”

King said Graham thought the reporter was asking, “would she make a good president?”

“And he said, ‘Absolutely, she would,'” King said. “That is how he interpreted the question. Because here’s the thing: Stedman would never so cavalierly say, ‘Absolutely she would do it. It’s up to the people.’ He would never just throw it out there like that.”

King added, “She loves this country and would like to be in service in some way, but I don’t think she is actively considering it.”

Winfrey campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and while much of the media focus on Monday was on the possibility of her entering the race and her strengths and weaknesses, it also came with a dose of skepticism that she would actually take the plunge.

When asked about a political bid in October, Winfrey told “CBS This Morning,” “There will be no running for office of any kind for me.”

King’s comments — that Winfrey hadn’t changed her mind but was “intrigued” — did little to stop media speculation that a presidential bid is a possibility. Pundits, columnists, and political consultants have weighed in on the merits of her Globes speech, what it would take for her to launch a campaign, and the prospects of her winning.

There has even been a backlash to her speech and potential candidacy, with detractors on social media posting pictures of her with Harvey Weinstein. In addition to her speech, Winfrey signed the letter of support for the Time’s Up movement, the campaign to raise money for the legal defense of those who face sexual harassment across all industries.

Bill Kristol, the conservative columnist for the Weekly Standard, seemed to champion the idea of Winfrey for 2020 on Twitter, and later noted some of the pushback that even some Democrats have had to the idea of her running.

“I may not really be pro-Oprah. But for now at least I am anti-anti-Oprah,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

Later on Tuesday, President Donald Trump was asked what he thought of the prospect of a Winfrey presidential bid.

I’ll beat Oprah. Oprah would be a lot of fun. I know her very well,” he told reporters on Tuesday. He noted that he and his family were on one of the final episodes of her syndicated talk show.

“I like Oprah. I don’t think she’s going to run,” Trump added. He again said he knows Winfrey “very well,” before repeating that he didn’t think she would run.

Popular on Variety

More Politics

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Peter Coyote Riffs on 'Country Music' and How He Admires and Challenges Ken Burns

    Though an instantly recognizable face from films such as “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “A Walk to Remember” and “Erin Brockovich,” it is Peter Coyote’s voice — a coolly authoritative baritone with a Zen master’s holy roll — that has endeared him to documentary lovers and makers. Alrhough director-writer Alex Gibney used Coyote’s wisened narration for “Enron: [...]

  • Lowell Smokes Cafe Marijuana

    With Cannabis Lounges, On-Site Consumption, Marijuana-Infused Meals Go Legit

    Can this century’s Roaring ’20s repeat history but with pre-rolled joints instead of whiskey flasks and soccer moms as the new flappers? This month, West Hollywood will see the opening of the nation’s first at least quasi-legal cannabis consumption lounge, officially dubbed Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Café, located at 1211 N. La Brea between Fountain [...]

  • President Donald Trump waves as he

    Trump Holds Fundraiser in Hollywood's Backyard

    President Trump paid a visit to Los Angeles on Tuesday, as part of a West Coast fundraising swing expected to raise $15 million. Trump is set to appear at a dinner at developer Geoffrey Palmer’s house in Beverly Hills, where tickets range from $1,000 to $100,000 for VIPs. Though set in Hollywood’s backyard, the event [...]

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Burning Image Debate Ad

    ABC Runs Debate Ad Showing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Burning Image

    ABC aired an ad during Thursday’s Democratic debate that depicted a burning image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and likened her politics to those that caused the Cambodian genocide. New Faces GOP funded the ad, which features Elizabeth Heng, a Republican who lost a bid for a Fresno-area congressional seat last year. Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter, [...]

  • Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris.

    ABC News' Democratic Debate Lacked Energy and Purpose

    At long last, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren were on the same stage. And the result was a long and fairly dull evening. After two Democratic Party debate stages in which the field of candidates had been bifurcated — splitting, in both cases, the perceived frontrunners from the establishment and insurgent [...]

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden responds

    Protesters Interrupt Joe Biden During Democratic Debate

    Protesters interrupted presidential candidate Joe Biden during Thursday’s democratic debate. The chants came nearly two and a half hours in as moderator George Stephanopoulos asked the former vice president about any professional setbacks he’s faced and how he recovered from them. “We’re going to clear the protesters,” Stephanopoulos said as the chants began. “We’re sorry.” [...]

  • Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren,

    Dems Debate in Houston: Moderates Push Back on Medicare for All

    The third Democratic debate on Thursday was billed as the first showdown between the top contenders: Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Biden did challenge the liberal senators on health care early in the debate, which was broadcast on ABC. He asked repeatedly how they would pay for their multi-trillion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content