January 8, 2018

Trump proved America will elect a politically inexperienced billionaire TV superstar Oprah Winfrey as President


It was supposed to be a night about myriad women in black dresses making a powerful collective statement about sexual harassment.

Instead, it turned into a night about one powerful black woman making what could turn out to be an historic statement of political intent.



Make no mistake, Oprah Winfrey’s astonishing speech at last night’s Golden Globes was the moment she told the world: ‘I’m ready to be President of the United States.’

Oprah’s astonishing speech at last night’s Golden Globes was the moment she told the world: ‘I’m ready to be President of the United States’- and her longtime partner Stedman confirmed it

Her partner Stedman Graham appeared to confirm this by telling the Los Angeles Times: ‘It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.’

'Yesterday a tweet about the Golden Globes and Oprah Winfrey was sent by a third party agency for NBC Entertainment in real time during the broadcast,' NBC tweeted out early Monday morning
And Meryl Streep said an Oprah presidential run was now inevitable: ‘She launched a rocket tonight. I want her to run for president. I don’t think she had any intention (of declaring). But now she doesn’t have a choice.’

Until Oprah got up to receive her Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, the Globes had meandered along a predictable virtue-signalling path with attendees competing to be the most sincere #MeToo star in the room and host Seth Myers whacking all the right villains, from Weinstein to Spacey.


But within a few minutes, the whole mood changed to one of euphoria and excitement as she spoke with such blazing eloquence and passion that the audience repeatedly jumped to its feet to roar approval.

She invoked Sidney Poitier, who inspired her as a kid when he became the first African-American to win the Oscar for Best Actor.

She invoked Recy Taylor, a young rape victim in Alabama from 1944, whose case was taken up by civil rights heroine Rosa Parks, and who died just ten days ago.

She invoked all the women behind #MeToo but she also invoked ‘every man who chooses to listen.’

Who would win the next election: Oprah or President Trump?
Finally, she invoked all the little girls watching at home as she had once watched Poitier.

‘A new day is on the horizon!’ Oprah shouted to them, ‘and when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me Too” again.’

It was a speech that made the heart pound and the tear ducts sting.


It was also a speech that sounded distinctly…presidential.

Notably, it was inclusive. Oprah was careful, unlike some in the #MeToo campaign, not to sound like she hated all men. She even praised the much-maligned ‘fake news’ media: ‘I want to say that I value the press more than ever before,’ she said, ‘speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.’

There’s one guaranteed way to earn yourself instant positive headlines from a press that so obviously loathes the current President.

My own mind flashed back to seven years ago this very week to when I looked Oprah in the eye and told her: ‘A lot of people say if you ran for president, you’d win.’

We were in a Beverly Hills hotel room doing a lengthy interview for CNN. It was my first ever show for the network.

‘You know,’ she replied, ‘it’s one of those things that, if you’re living in the ego of yourself, it’s flattering to hear that. But the thing I really admire about myself is I know where my lane is, and I know how to stay in my lane.’

Seven years ago I interviewed Oprah for CNN and asked her if she'd run, and I thought then she'd make a better president Hillary Clinton
‘Where’s your lane?’ I pressed.

‘My lane is evolving the consciousness of people everywhere, getting people to see the best of themselves and, therefore, the best in other people.’

‘Who knows the American people better than you?’ I asked.

‘Listen,’ she responded, ‘I am not in any position or qualified to run a country, a city, a town hall meeting.’

I changed tack.


‘Let me ask you a different way. You are a very successful businesswoman?’

‘Yes.’

‘And it’s a billion-dollar-plus business; as an empire, it’s very impressive and it’s big.’

‘OK.’

‘And it’s successful. How would you get America back on its feet again?’

Oprah gave me a slightly scolding look.

‘I don’t know the answer to that. That’s out of my lane. You’ve now driven off the road and out of my lane!’

‘I want you in that lane!’

‘But you can’t put me in that lane!’

‘Why not? You’d be great in that lane.’

Oprah’s eyes flashed with sudden intensity. ‘No. What I can talk about is compassion for anybody who is struggling, who has lost their job, who doesn’t know how they’re going to pay this month’s bills. I have great empathy for that and understand what it means.’

I thought then that Oprah would make a far better first female president than Hillary Clinton.

Seven years ago I interviewed Oprah for CNN and asked her if she'd run, and I thought then she'd make a better president Hillary Clinton +3

Seven years ago I interviewed Oprah for CNN and asked her if she'd run, and I thought then she'd make a better president Hillary Clinton

She’s an entirely self-made billionaire who fought her way out of abject poverty and abuse to become the biggest star in America.

She’s got a massively generous heart, giving away a rumoured $500 million to charity.

She’s whip-smart, well read and connected, very warm and funny, knows how to run things, and genuinely cares about people.

She’s also a natural-born winner.

Oprah’s astonishing speech at last night’s Golden Globes was the moment she told the world: ‘I’m ready to be President of the United States’- and her longtime partner Stedman confirmed it
But don’t take my word for it, ask Donald Trump.

In 1999, Trump appeared on CNN to talk about a possible presidential run.

‘Do you have a vice presidential candidate in mind?’ he was asked.

‘Oprah,’ Trump replied immediately. I love Oprah, she would always be my first choice. She’s a great woman, somebody very special. She’s popular, she’s brilliant, an exceptional woman. If she’d do it, she’d be fantastic.’

When Trump finally did announce a formal campaign, in June 2015, he hadn’t changed his mind about a potential VP, telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: ‘I like Oprah. She’s great, she’s talented, she’s a good person.’

Ironically, it was Trump himself who almost certainly persuaded Oprah to consider a run, because all the reasons she cited for NOT running were blown apart by his extraordinary victory.

In March last year, Oprah was interviewed by Bloomberg TV’s David Rubenstein and asked again if she would be a candidate, given, he said, ‘it’s clear you don’t need government experience to be elected President of the United States.’

As the audience whooped, Oprah replied: “I thought, ‘Oh gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough.’ And now I’m thinking, “Oh.”

Well last night, that 'Oh' became a 'Let’s go, O'.

For the past week, Washington has been agog with Michael Wolff’s spectacularly juicy Trump book, Fire and Fury.

Washington has been agog with Michael Wolff¿s spectacularly juicy Trump book, Fire and Fury.
I doubt it will end Trump's presidency

Washington has been agog with Michael Wolff’s spectacularly juicy Trump book, Fire and Fury for the past week- but I doubt it will end Trump's presidency

The author, who pulled off one of the journalistic coups of all time by implanting himself into the White House for months on end (memo to the administration: if you let a wolf into your house, it’s probably going to eat everyone..), proclaimed it would mark ‘the end of this presidency.’

I very much doubt that.

Trump’s base won’t give a damn about it, and as for the President himself, he managed, with one tweet, to get everyone talking about the words ‘Trump’ and ‘stable genius’ for days on end – which in itself is little short of genius.

What happened last night should worry the President a lot more than Wolff’s riotously readable book.

If Oprah does run in 2020, then Trump will face someone who is almost as rich as him, as big a star as him and massively more popular than him.

He’ll also face an opponent with a crossover appeal to all sections of American society, a ferocious will to win to match his own, and more than enough self-confidence to handle his inevitable taunts and tweet onslaughts.

In another part of our interview, Oprah hinted at a higher calling.

‘I have always believed the "Oprah Winfrey Show" was really the foundation for the beginning of what was to come for my supreme moment of destiny,’ she said. ‘I am very clear that my life and my purpose is bigger than myself. This isn't all about me, you know, having houses and shoes. It's about, how can I be used for something greater than myself? And that is why I'm here…Negro me, former colored girl in Mississippi.’

The interview aired on January 17, 2011, which was Martin Luther King Day.

She grew emotional when she spoke about the great civil rights icon.

‘I know that I would not be here, this life that I live, the dream that I live in, that he predicted for our people, had he not been who he was. I stand in the shoes and on the shoulders of those who have come before me. I’m very much aware of that, and I’m very connected to it.’

I’m fairly certain Dr King is looking down on America right now and urging Oprah to rise to her supreme moment of destiny.

It’s time to switch lanes, Ms Winfrey.


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