President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE said Tuesday he could beat entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey in the 2020 presidential race, but doesn’t think she’ll make a run for the White House.
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“Yeah, I’ll beat Oprah. Oprah will be lots of fun,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with lawmakers about immigration. “I don’t think she’s going to run.”
Winfrey’s rousing speech at the Golden Globes started an avalanche of speculation that she could run for president. Her speech ignited a media frenzy over the possibility that Winfrey, a beloved television personality and business mogul, could take on Trump, himself a reality TV star and one of the most famous people in the world.
At the Oval Office meeting on Tuesday, Trump reminded reporters that he had been on one of Winfrey’s last shows.
“I like Oprah,” he said.
Trump has expressed his admiration for Winfrey in the past. In 1999, he mentioned her as a possible running mate should he ever run for president.
The possibility of a Winfrey candidacy has energized many Democrats, who view her as the perfect foil to Trump.
Winfrey, an African-American woman and rape survivor who grew up in poverty, is a self-made billionaire with the ability to emotionally connect with ordinary Americans through the media.
Still, some liberals have warned Democrats against becoming dazzled by Winfrey’s celebrity, arguing instead that the party has a deep bench of highly qualified women candidates that are already in office.
While initial reports seemed to indicate that Winfrey was seriously considering taking the plunge, her allies have since thrown some cold water on the notion that it is a sure thing.
Gayle King, who is close friends with Winfrey, said on “CBS This Morning” earlier Tuesday that Winfrey finds the idea “intriguing” but added that she doesn’t believe Winfrey is actually considering it right now.
And while Winfrey’s partner, Stedman Graham, was initially quoted as saying that she “absolutely” would run, he has since said his remarks were taken out of context and that he only meant to convey that she would “absolutely” make a great president if she did run.
–Jordan Fabian contributed to this report, which was updated at 1:07 p.m.