Call her the anti-Trump.
Over three decades, Oprah Winfrey has amassed a personal fortune and huge public celebrity through a personally-branded media empire. She is one of the most powerful African American women in the country, with a personal worth estimated at some $2.7 billion, according to Forbes.
And in the wake of a stirring speech at the Golden Globes awards Sunday night, calls are mounting for Oprah, 63, to run for president in 2020.
Sources identified as “close friends” of Winfrey’s told CNN that she has been “actively thinking” about making the transition into politics for months, with one asserting no decision has yet been made.
The Los Angeles Times quoted Stedman Graham, Winfrey’s longtime partner, as saying on Sunday that “It’s up to the people … She would absolutely do it.”
In a now-deleted tweet, NBC tweeted “Nothing but respect for OUR future president,” along with a picture of Oprah during the Golden Globes.
Oprah is a former television host, actress, movie and television producer, and chief executive of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) channel on cable.
Trump also powered his successful 2016 campaign on the back of his celebrity reputation from reality TV show “The Apprentice,” as well as long-cultivated attention in New York newspapers.
In recent years, Winfrey has lent her star power to endorse Democratic presidential candidates: Barack Obama when he was seeking to become the first black U.S. president in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in her campaign against Trump in 2016.
In the past, Winfrey has said she is not interested in running for president, for example saying in a CBS interview in October when asked about the 2020 presidential election that, “There will be no running for office of any kind for me.”
Additional reporting by Reuters
Analysis: How likely is it that Oprah could win the presidency?
Public opinion analyst Karlyn Bowman, of the American Enterprise Institute, said a transition by Oprah into politics could be plausible.
Do you think Oprah could really run?
She’s pretty popular, as you can imagine, among the American public. God knows, entertainment culture and celebrity culture has certainly infiltrated politics, there’s no question about it. Now, as to whether people would take her seriously, its possible. She’d have to develop some issue positions, but she’s clearly very popular.
Isn’t it too early to speculate on this?
Donald Trump was pretty speculative at one time. But being popular at the Golden Globes is one thing, being someone whose considered to be of presidential timbre is quite another. This is very early speculation in a race where we’ve heard at least 29 different names mentioned, so it’s definitely very, very early.
Oprah, by the numbers
Estimated amount Oprah has given to charity
Average weekly audience for Oprah’s now-discontinued talk show
Pontiac G6 sedans Oprah gave away to her audience after memorably saying “You get a car! And you get a car! Everybody gets a car!”
Age at which Oprah became an anchor in Nashville, first and youngest African American anchor on the station
Who else could run in 2020?
President Donald Trump is undoubtedly expected to seek a second term in office. In fact, critics have already pointed out that some of Trump’s public events seem to be early campaign promotions. Other big names rumored for a 2020 run include well known political players as well as Hollywood celebrities like:
Former First Lady Michelle Obama
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Breitbart News chairman and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon
Actor and former WWF star Dwayne “The Rock” Johson
Musician Robert James Ritchie, aka “Kid Rock”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Former Olympic star and reality personality Caitlyn Jenner
Rapper Kanye West
Businessman and television personality Mark Cuban
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker