Oprah Winfrey’s impassioned speech at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday night has sparked a grass roots call for the media mogul to run for president of the United States in 2020.
“It’s up to the people,” Winfrey’s longtime partner, businessman and educator Stedman Graham, 66, told the Los Angeles Times, following an outpouring of support on social media from entertainers to groups like the National Organization for Women and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “She would absolutely do it,” he said. The hashtag #Oprah2020 began trending while the awards were still in progress.
What CNN characterized as two of Winfrey’s “close friends … who requested anonymity in order to speak freely” told the news network Monday that for months confidants have been urging her to run and that Winfrey, 63, remains undecided. A representative for Winfrey did not respond to a CNN request for comment, and neither Winfrey nor Graham have commented on social media.
Among the tweeted missives, country music star Billy Gilman wrote, “As I sit here in tears...I have never ever seen such a speech. @Oprah, my friend. Please run for President. This world needs more of THAT. WOW.” Asserted Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr., of “Hamilton,” “She’s running. A new day is on the way.” Best-selling author and essayist Roxane Gay wrote, “Our president is giving her state of the union.” And on Monday, actor Josh Gad tweeted, “That hangover you feel this morning, the one that gives you a pit of hopefulness in your stomach, is called #Oprah2020.”
MSNBC correspondent Joy Reid tweeted a photo of actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who has previously hinted at political aspirations, and wrote, “When Oprah is speaking at the Golden Globes and your goals shift to VP...” Johnson, 45, when apprised of the tweet, laughed and asked for a link to it, and told the Los Angeles Times of his own presidential possibility, “The consideration is always serious. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can. But I don’t know a lot about politics.” He called Winfrey’s speech “incredible” and said he was “very moved.”
As she became the first African-American recipient of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Cecil B. DeMille Award, Winfrey, in an acceptance speech focusing on women fighting injustice, noted that, “We all know that the press is under siege these days. But we also know that it is the insatiable dedication and the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and injustice, to tyrants and victims and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”
Meanwhile, NBC apologized on Monday for a tweet endorsing Oprah Winfrey as “OUR future president.” The tweet was posted in response to a quip from Seth Meyers’ Golden Globes opening monologue, but fell flat with some on social media, including President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
The network, which aired Sunday’s show, then removed the tweet, explaining that it had been posted by a third-party agency used by NBC Entertainment and “was not meant to be a political statement.”