Trump would welcome challenge from Oprah Winfrey for president

When asked Monday aboard Air Force One about a potential high-profile general election opponent to President Donald Trump - namely, self-made billionaire media proprietor and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey - deputy White House spokesman Hogan Gidley responded, "We welcome the challenge, whether it be Oprah Winfrey or anybody else".

"I don't consider myself political, and I seldom interview politicians", she said during a 2008 interview with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, whom she provided with an endorsement and support on the campaign trail.

It was Reese Witherspoon, co-star to Winfrey in the upcoming "Wrinkle In Time" film, who presented the award to the mogul, opening up with a statement in which she noted that "there's only one person whose name is a verb, an adjective, and a feeling, and that is Oprah".

Oprah Winfrey accepts the Cecil B. Demille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel
Oprah Winfrey accepts the Cecil B. Demille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel

Winfrey's delivery wasn't the soft, enfolding, personal empathy of "Oprah on the couch". Despite a backstage denial by Winfrey, her speech and subsequent reports fueled speculation that she may be considering a presidential run in 2020.

"For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men", she said to a standing ovation.

As she spoke of the bravery of women who had spoken out against abuse and injustice and the importance of a free press, she declaimed that "a new day is on the horizon... a time when no one has to say #MeToo again".

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With nearly three years to run, there is still all to play for in the 2020 presidential election. She was cast as Sofia Johnson in the Steven Spielberg-directed film, which saw her nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar in 1986.

Howard tweeted: "Probably the most extraordinary & inspiring moment I've ever witnessed at an award show".

"I'll beat Oprah. Oprah would be a lot of fun". Yes it is. May we all greet it with hope, resolve and faith.

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"No, I like Oprah, I don't think she's gonna run".

Bill O'Reilly, a Trump supporter and ex-Fox News anchor disgraced by sexual harassment allegations, wrote: "How can any politician attack Oprah, a feminine icon, human rights hero, civil rights champion and beloved human being?"

Trump, a billionaire TV star whose ascent to the presidency was fueled by name recognition, sheer wattage and personality, has long praised Winfrey, who shares numerous same qualities.

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Weight Watchers, which was hammered by free fitness apps and years of subscriber losses, has mounted a comeback since Winfrey bought a stake, joined the board and agreed to pitch the brand in 2015.

  • Theresa Obrien