Oprah Winfrey fans had an “aha moment” after the television icon gave an inspirational speech at the Golden Globe Awards, egging her on to announce her candidacy for the 2020 presidential election on Twitter. After weeks of speculation, Oprah has (seemingly) shut down the rumors for good.
Winfrey and sources close to her had given conflicting accounts regarding the subject, so it’s fair for fans to hold out hope that she’ll decide to be a candidate.
The 63-year-old, who created a media empire out of humble beginnings, is no stranger to political influence. Her endorsement of former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign has been referred to as “a decisive, if not the deciding, factor,” for his win, according to Craig Garthwaite, the co-author of “The Role of Celebrity Endorsements in Politics: Oprah, Obama, and the 2008 Democratic Primary.”
In June 2016, she backed Hillary Clinton for president, telling “Entertainment Tonight” that “it’s a seminal moment for women. What this says is there is no ceiling, that ceiling just went boom! It says anything is possible when you can be leader of the free world.”
As for Winfrey’s personal political aspirations, we broke down what she’s said in the past about her potential social media-backed 2020 run.
It’s just not in the cards
While taping her podcast “SuperSoul Sunday” with guest Lin-Manuel Miranda on Feb. 7 in Manhattan, Oprah told the “Hamilton” star that despite popular social media opinion, she has no plans to run. “I’m not either,” Oprah said after Miranda said he wasn’t eyeing the White House, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The interest isn’t there
In her first official post-Globes interview on the topic published by InStyle on Jan. 25, Oprah said the idea of running is “not something that interests me.” She admitted to meeting with someone who could help her put together a possible campaign, but added that it’s “not for me,” quickly after.
“Intriguing” but …
TV personality Gayle King said her pal Oprah was “intrigued” by the idea of running for office on “CBS This Morning” Jan. 9. “I do think she’s intrigued by the idea, I do think that,” King said. “I also know that after years of watching ‘The Oprah [Winfrey] Show’ you always have the right to change your mind. I don’t think at this point she’s actually considering it.”
An “active possibility”
Following her Golden Globes speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award, in which she alluded to “a new day on the horizon,” Winfrey’s potential candidacy for president resurfaced.
On Jan. 8, CNN reported that two of Winfrey’s friends, who remain anonymous, said that she is “actively thinking” about running for president. People closest to her have insisted she run, but she has not made up her mind yet, the CNN report added.
Another report following her speech cited her longtime partner Stedman Graham, who told the Los Angeles Times “it’s up to the people” and that Winfrey “would absolutely do it.”
Shutting down hope
Before the Golden Globe attention, however, Winfrey seemingly dismissed the idea, telling “CBS This Morning” in October that “There will be no running of office of any kind, for me.”
Basking in the glory
The inconclusive speculation around her presidential bid led one New York Post writer, John Podhoretz, to pen an op-ed making a convincing case for Winfrey’s ability to challenge and win against President Donald Trump.
In response, she tweeted, “@jpodhoretz Thanks for your VOTE of confidence! Democrats’ best hope for 2020: Oprah / New York Post,” in September.
We see what you did there, Oprah.
A “pretty definitive” no
In a podcast interview with Hollywood Reporter in June, she once again shut down hopes, saying, “I will never run for public office. It’s a pretty definitive thing.”
Don’t rule it out
In March, she gave fans reason to hold on to hope in a Bloomberg TV interview with David Rubenstein. When the talk-show host asked if she would ever consider running for president, she said, “I never considered the question even a possibility.”
When Rubenstein alluded to Trump by pointing out how a president need not have government experience these days, she replied, “I thought, ‘Oh, gee, I don’t have the experience. I don’t know enough.’ And now I’m thinking, ‘Oh.’ ”
Not her “thing”
In an interview with Newsday last January, she said, quite simply, “Nope.”
“Not my thing, not my thing,” she repeated in the interview about her cookbook “Food, Health and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life.”
Trump calls for a running mate
Oprah Winfrey fans are not the only ones who have called for her to run for office.
In June 2015, after Trump announced his presidential bid, he told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that “Oprah would be great” as a running mate. “I’d love to have Oprah,” he said. “I think we’d win easily, actually.”
Roughly a year later, Winfrey was asked on Jimmy Kimmel Live if she would consider Trump’s invitation. If she ever got a call from him, she said, “I would say, Donald, I’m with her,” further solidifying her endorsement for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Following the declaration, she went on to issue a rather confusing statement.
“One thing I know for sure is that I will never run for office. For many years I used to think, until this election, why do people say that? I have no qualifications to run,” Winfrey said. “I’m feeling pretty qualified. After this year, I’m feeling pretty qualified.”