Oprah Winfrey‘s passionate, headline-making speech at Sunday night’s Golden Globes was interpreted by many as a preemptive hint at a possible presidential run in 2020, but on Tuesday’s episode of CBS This Morning, her BFF Gayle King tempered the assumption with a few careful responses.
“It is a very interesting conversation that’s happening right now,” King, a co-host on the show, said when grilled by her cohosts about whether or not Winfrey has serious intentions of running for office. “I do think she’s 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’s actually considering it.”
Those close to the media mogul have, King allowed, been trying to convince Winfrey otherwise.
“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. “She loves this country and would like to be of service in some way, but I don’t think that she is actively considering [running].”
Rumors that Winfrey may be open to running for president have swirled for years, but they intensified after Winfrey delivered a poignant speech while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award Sunday. The longtime TV veteran touched on issues of race, gender, injustice and hope for a “new day,” ending on a rousing note calling for “magnificent women … and some pretty phenomenal men” to fight for a better future for the next generation.
“Being in that room was electrifying,” King said. “It was the right person giving the right speech at the right time. She wanted that moment to be more than women wearing black dresses of solidarity. She really did want to speak to young girls around the country. She really did want to say, ‘Enough already,’ and I think she delivered on all that in a very eloquent way. But will she run for president? I think it’s a very intriguing idea, myself.”
After the awards ceremony Sunday, Winfrey’s longtime partner Stedman Graham stoked speculation about her interest in running for political office when he told the Los Angeles Times, “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.”
On Tuesday, King clarified that Graham had misinterpreted the question to be a hypothetical question about whether Winfrey would make a good president, not whether she was actually considering a presidential run.
“I got email from people yesterday that said, ‘Is Stedman being strategic or is he being supportive?'” King said. “He is nothing but supportive. He would never just throw it out there like that.”