2020 vision: Star wars
Can a billionaire TV star and business mogul with no political experience become president? That question already has been asked and answered, so the chatter about Oprah Winfrey running for president, ignited by her electrifying speech at the Golden Globes Awards Sunday night, isn’t easily dismissed.
“She would be a serious candidate,” said Jennifer Palmieri, a communications director for Barack Obama’s White House and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
“Oprah Winfrey is as brilliant and inspiring as any public figure today. ... Don’t underestimate her,” tweeted Jon Favreau, who was Obama’s chief speechwriter.
Winfrey is “actively thinking” about it, two of her friends told CNN. “She would absolutely do it,” her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, told the Los Angeles Times. In past interviews, Winfrey wasn’t interested, telling Newsday’s Pervaiz Shallwani a year ago: “Not my thing.”
The White House reacted with restraint. “We welcome the challenge, whether it be Oprah Winfrey or anybody else,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said.
So no Trump nicknames for Oprah yet.
See Newsday’s story by Frank Lovece.
Donald Trump, Oprah fanboy
Back when he was musing about a presidential bid in 1999, Trump told CNN’s Larry King that for a running mate, “Oprah would always be my first choice.”
In his book “The America We Deserve,” Trump elaborated. “Oprah is on the side of angels, and may even be an angel herself,” he gushed. “Oprah exemplifies the leadership I’m interested in — she doesn’t strike poses. Instead she poses striking questions: Are you doing your best? If not, why not?”
In 2012, suggesting Winfrey wasn’t campaigning as hard for Obama as she did in 2008, he concluded, “Anyway, who cares, I adore Oprah.” When she started her own network, Trump tweeted: “She knows how to win.”
Salvadorans face deport deadline
The Trump administration on Monday terminated a Temporary Protected Status program that has shielded more than 260,000 Salvadoran immigrants from deportation since 2001, Newsday’s Víctor Manuel Ramos reports.
The move presents thousands of Salvadorans on Long Island with a crucial decision — whether to prepare to leave, seek another form of lawful residency or fall into illegal status as of the deadline announced by the government, Sept. 9, 2019.
During the past year, Haitians and Nicaraguans also were told they would lose the TPS designation, which is granted as a form of humanitarian relief at presidential discretion to immigrants from countries in crisis.
Trump is expected to call for a $1 trillion infrastructure plan soon, but the road there is still shrouded in fog.
Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic adviser, cited details involving public-private partnerships for fixing roads and bridges, according to The Washington Post. But Trump is reported to have told members of Congress as recently as Friday that he doesn’t favor such partnerships because they don’t always work.
See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.
The grudge report
As thin-skinned as he can be, Trump lets go of grudges when it suits him.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was a guest on Air Force One Monday. This fall, Corker called the Trump White House an “adult day care center” and said the president was “putting us on the path to World War III.” Trump tweeted that Corker “couldn’t get elected dog catcher."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told ABC’s “The View” Monday how his buddy relationship with Trump evolved.
“I said he was a xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot. I ran out of things to say. He won,” Graham explained, adding: “I don’t think he’s a xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot — as president.”
Should those fence-mending stories give Steve Bannon hope?
Calling Bannon’s attacks on the president’s family members “repugnant” and “grotesque,” deputy press secretary Gidley said, “I don’t think there’s any way back for Mr. Bannon at this point.”
What else is happening
- Did Trump get lost while singing the national anthem at Monday night's NCAA game? Watch the video and judge for yourself. He knew some of it.
- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nuked Energy Secretary Rick Perry's proposal to prop up coal and atomic plants in competitive electricity markets.
- Trump traveled to Tennessee to outline in broad strokes his administration’s plan to spur economic development in rural America, including expanded broadband access, Newsday’s Laura Figueroa Hernandez reports.
- Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has told Trump’s lawyers that they may want an interview with the president in the coming weeks, The Washington Post reports. They’re debating how to handle a request, but Trump is willing to respond, the report said.
- Trump’s physical next week at Walter Reed Medical Center won’t include a psychiatric exam, Gidley said. The Washington Post reports on how Trump’s “very stable genius” boast undermined the White House’s struggle to quiet questions about his mental fitness.
- Trump tweeted doubts about Obama’s stability in 2014 when the former president allowed American Ebola patients to fly home for treatment: “I am starting to think that there is something seriously wrong with President Obama’s mental health. Why won’t he stop the flights. Psycho.”
- Talk of an imminent exit by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has quieted down. He told CNN, “I intend to be here for the whole year.” He is still often not on the same page as Trump and other senior officials.
- The White House is taking another shot at winning Senate approval for K.T. McFarland of Park Avenue and Southampton to be ambassador to Singapore. The nomination stalled over questions about whether she was forthcoming about her ex-boss’ Mike Flynn’s Russian contacts.