Will Donald Trump’s biggest competition in the 2020 election come from Oprah Winfrey?
Winfrey sparked just that kind of speculation on Thursday after she thanked New York Post columnist John Podhoretz for an article he wrote titled “Democrats’ best hope for 2020: Oprah.”
“Thanks for your VOTE of confidence!” Winfrey wrote on Twitter.
Despite the endorsement, Winfrey is not planning to run for office. “She was just thanking the reporter, she is not running for office,” a representative told TheWrap.
In his column, Podhoretz cites Winfrey’s 60 Minutes debut this week, where she tackled the growing divide in America, as part of the reason she’d be an ideal option for voters. “Listening, asking, speaking without judgment, trying to find common ground — it was a superb performance by Oprah, and I use the word ‘performance’ advisedly. She was dazzling in exactly the way that Oprah could always be dazzling, finding a tone appropriate for the moment without being heavy-handed,” Podhoretz wrote (Winfrey’s segment included both Trump voters and Hillary Clinton voters).
He added, “If any figure in the United States bears watching over the next couple of years as our political culture continues the radical transformation that led to the election of Donald Trump, it’s Oprah. I believe she’s uniquely positioned, should she wish to commit herself, to seek the Democratic nomination for president and challenge Trump in 2020.”
Winfrey has often downplayed and outright denied that she will ever run for public office in the future. “I will never run for public office,” she said to THR last year.
But she has spoken out about Trump. Before the election last year, Winfrey urged people to go out and vote for Clinton, despite any reservations they may have felt toward her.
“This is what I really want to say: All the people, I hear this all the time. You get in conversations — and there’s not a person in this room who hasn’t been in the same conversation — where people say, ‘I just don’t know if I like her.’ She not coming over your house!” Winfrey told T.D. Jakes in an interview. “You don’t have to like her. You don’t have to like her. Do you like this country? Do you like this country? You better get out there and vote. Do you like freedom and liberty? Do you like this country? Okay. Do you like democracy or do you want a demagogue? Okay.”
Last year, after the election, Winfrey posted a photo of Trump meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the transfer of power with the caption, “Everybody take a deep breath! #HopeLives!” Winfrey was slammed for the comment on social media and later explained how she “couldn’t breathe after the election” and found Trump’s meeting with Obama encouraging.
Podhoretz isn’t the first person to suggest Winfrey should run in 2020. In August, filmmaker Michael Moore suggested Democrats needed to “run a beloved American in 2020” to oppose Trump and cited Winfrey among the options. “Who wouldn’t vote for Tom Hanks for President of the United States? C’mon! Or Oprah!”
This post has been updated