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January 09, 2018 01:25 PM

Donald Trump has addressed the buzz about Oprah Winfrey possibly running for president in 2020, offering rare praise for a potential political rival but affirming that yes, he would “beat Oprah.”

Opening a bipartisan meeting on immigration reform, Trump told reporters in the Cabinet Room: “Yeah, I’ll beat Oprah — Oprah would be a lot of fun. I know her very well.”

“I like Oprah,” he said. “I don’t think she’s going to run.”

Trump added that he appeared with his family on what he said was one of Winfrey’s final shows. (He first appeared on her show solo in 1988 before returning with his family in 2011. The latter appearance aired during Winfrey’s final season, though it was not, as Trump suggested, on one of her farewell episodes.)

While Winfrey has always said she wouldn’t run for president, last year she favorited a tweet by political writer John Podhoretz, who wrote a column on why she should, prompting speculation that grew to a roar after her show-stopping Golden Globes speech on Sunday.

When her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, was asked about the possibility after the Golden Globes on Sunday, he told the Los Angeles Times: “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.” But Winfrey’s best friend, Gayle King, said Tuesday that the former daytime talk show host has no plans to run for president right now — even though she might be “intrigued” by the idea.

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Trump has frequently praised Winfrey in the past and even said he would love to have her as his running mate.

In fact, he told Larry King in 1999 that the media icon would be his first choice for running mate.

“Oprah. I love Oprah. Oprah would always be my first choice,” Trump said at the time. “If she’d do it, she’d be fantastic. I mean, she’s popular, she’s brilliant, she’s a wonderful woman. I mean, if she would ever do it. I don’t know that she would ever do it. She’s got, you know. She would be sort of like me.”

Early in his presidential campaign, Trump reiterated that he’d like Winfrey as a running mate. Winfrey responded at the time, “I’m with her” — tossing her support to Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton.

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