Oprah Winfrey is celebrating her 64th birthday on Monday amid continued calls for her to launch a White House bid.
Winfrey’s birthday comes three weeks after her momentous Golden Globes speech about fighting inequality and abuse — an address that stirred speculation over whether the mogul might run for president in 2020.
Even before Winfrey’s speech, which she made as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement on Jan. 7, Golden Globes host Seth Meyers jokingly tried to reverse-psychology the media icon into launching a presidential bid.
Referencing his own comments from the 2011 White House correspondents’ dinner, where he joked about Donald Trump not being qualified for president, Meyers said: “Some have said that night convinced [Trump] to run. So, if that’s true, I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president! You do not have what it takes. And [Tom] Hanks! Where’s Hanks? You will never be vice president. You are too mean and unrelatable. Now we just wait and see.”
Meyers may have been joking, but after Winfrey’s speech, the calls for her to run have never seemed stronger or more serious.
So is there a chance she’ll throw her hat in the ring for 2020? We can’t say for sure, but here’s a list of everything she’s said so far about running — or not running — for the highest office in the land.
- March 2017: Asked about her 2020 plans by Bloomberg TV’s David Rubenstein, Winfrey said she’d “never considered the question even a possibility.” Rubenstein then referenced Trump, pointing out that “it’s clear you don’t need government experience to be elected president of the United States.” Winfrey replied, “That’s what I thought. I thought, ‘Oh gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough.’ And now I’m thinking, ‘Oh. Oh!’ ” Her best friend, Gayle King, later said that Winfrey was clearly joking about running, adding, “I would bet my first, second born and any unborn children to come, that ain’t never happening.”
- June 2017: Winfrey told The Hollywood Reporter: “I will never run for public office. That’s a pretty definitive thing.”
- September 2017: Winfrey tweeted a link to a New York Post column with the headline, “Democrats’ best hope for 2020: Oprah.” She also tagged the author and thanked him for his “VOTE of confidence!”
- October 2017: When Gayle King broached the idea of a presidential bid to Winfrey on CBS This Morning, Winfrey shot it down: “There will be no running for office of any kind for me.”
- January 7, 2018: Asked about the possibility of a Winfrey ticket, her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, told the Los Angeles Times after the Golden Globes: “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.”
- January 7, 2018: That same night, the Los Angeles Times told Winfrey that “the internet is saying Oprah for president in 2020. What does Oprah say?” She first replied, “I say, I’m just glad I got through the speech! I thought a lot about it. I wanted this to be a meaningful moment.” But when pressed on a potential 2020 run, she reportedly paused, gave a “sly” smile and said, “Okaay!”
And according to CNN, two of Winfrey’s close friends, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said she is “actively thinking” about running for president.