In Depth

Oprah says she is not running for US president (in 2020)

Winfrey, 63, says White House run ‘is not something that interests me’

Oprah Winfrey has thrown cold water on rumours that she would enter the running to become the Democratic nominee for president in 2020, saying it is “not something that interests me”.

In a new interview with US magazine InStyle, the 63-year-old TV personality and mogul said that although she found the sudden appearance of #Oprah2020 mugs “cute”, when it comes to actually seeking political office: “That’s not for me.”

Winfrey’s barnstorming take on the #MeToo movement in a speech at the Golden Globes earlier this month gave rise to speculation that, having conquered a TV empire, she was setting her sights on a political career.

Friends of the billionaire businesswoman told CNN that she was “actively thinking” about a presidential run.

However, the new interview appears to firmly scotch the talk of a White House bid, Sky News reports.

“I've always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not,” she explained. “It’s just not something that interests me.” 

So why did the prospect of a Winfrey candidacy have Americans in a tizz?

#Oprahforpresident

Winfrey’s identity “as a liberal African-American woman – who pointedly defended the press in her speech – would have symbolic power against an incumbent who has admitted groping women, repeatedly stoked racial divisions and frequently attacked the ‘fake news’ media”, says The Guardian’s David Smith.

Winfrey “is articulate, has had a career defined more by its successes than its failures, and spoke more frankly on Sunday night about the darkness that has shaped our history - racism, patriarchy - than most politicians”, adds Slate’s Osita Nwanevu.

She also has more political experience than one might first imagine, too, argues Politico’s Bill Scher, saying: “The Oprah Winfrey Foundation runs circles around the Trump Foundation, and has given her some actual experience in education and housing policy. Winfrey has built 60 schools in 13 countries.”

Winfrey also has something that the current president doesn’t: a signature piece of legislation. The so-called Oprah Bill, otherwise known as the National Child Protection Act, created a national database of convicted child abusers. It was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993 following two years of lobbying by Winfrey.

Noprah

Those opposed to the prospect of a Winfrey presidency highlighted her political inexperience

“What is Oprah’s position on trade with China? Chain migration? Arming Syrian rebels? Financing infrastructure projects?” asked Howard Kurtz of Fox News. “It’s one thing to be a hugely successful talk show host and a pal of Barack Obama, and another to take on the world’s problems in a hyperpolarised atmosphere.”

The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman agreed: “You can’t criticise Trump for having no relevant experience or evident understanding of public policy, then say that the solution for Democrats is just to throw up their hands and find their own celebrity to promote,” he wrote .

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