Oprah Winfrey heard the criticisms about her controversial post-election tweet, and she understands the flak.
“Y’all heard about my tweet problems?” Winfrey asked a crowd on Sunday in Los Angeles, following a special screening of Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th, which included a post-show Q&A between Winfrey and DuVernay broadcast online via Facebook Live.
Last week, two days after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, Winfrey tweeted a photo of the new president-elect meeting Barack Obama at the White House. “Everybody take a deep breath!” Winfrey wrote, adding the hashtag #HopeLives.
Winfrey was slammed for the tweet throughout her mentions. “This is the second time I’ve had tweet troubles,” she said on Sunday. “And it’s the same lesson, so Jesus, I hear you. You don’t have to tell me again.”
Winfrey recalled getting in hot water when she had just started OWN for telling “everybody” with a Nielsen box to turn on her network as a way to increase ratings — and she explained how using “everybody” again was her mistake.
“I couldn’t breathe after the election,” she said. But seeing Trump and Obama together at the White House gave her a renewed sense of optimism. “I was expecting tension, awkwardness, and strain. So when I saw them sitting together, I actually took a picture of the screen that said ‘President-elect Trump honored to meet Obama.’ And President Obama was being so gracious, and I heard Donald Trump say, ‘He’s a good man.’ I heard Donald Trump say, ‘I’m going to be seeking his counsel.’ I literally went [deep breath], I can breathe now,” Winfrey said.
“My mistake, and this is what I know to be true: you can never talk about everybody,” she added. “Even in your arguments with your husband and your children. Don’t talk about what you should do, what you ought to do — you can only speak for yourself. So what I should have said was, ‘I just took a breath.’ What I said was, ‘Everybody take a breath — #HopeLives.'”
Winfrey said that perhaps a better hashtag would have been #CivilityLives, “because this was more civil than I expected it to be.”
The legendary talk show host has spoken out against Trump in the past, even comparing him to a “demagogue.” She said Sunday that her tweet was only in reference to the “transition of power” and not Trump’s policies. “Not, ‘Take a deep breath about… everything.’ No. Not at all.”
Watch below starting around the 18-minute mark.