Will This Photo Sink an Oprah Winfrey 2020 Candidacy Against Donald Trump?
Oprah Winfrey's Golden Globes speech Sunday night inspired calls for her to run for president in 2020, and on Monday, sources confirmed she is serious about such an endeavor.
One photo might have the ability to sink her candidacy, however. Winfrey posed while kissing the notorious Harvey Weinstein. (Weinstein has been credibly accused by more than 50 women of using his position in Hollywood to force them to have sex with him in order to help their careers.)
Winfrey's Golden Globes speech actually underscores the significance of this photo and her time working with Weinstein in Hollywood.
Winfrey dressed in black, symbolizing her support for the "Time's Up" movement, an offshoot of the #MeToo movement against sexual assault. She became the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille award for "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." In her acceptance speech, she emphasized breaking down racial and gender barriers to success, and championed the cause of women who claim to be victims of sexual assault.
"So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon!" Winfrey declared. "And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say 'Me too' again. Thank you."
Her speech did not get caught up on politics, but used soaring rhetoric to set the stage for hope of an era after sexual assault, when every American regardless of race or sex is able to reach the heights of society. It was truly inspiring, and the Golden Globes audience burst into a standing ovation for it on Sunday night.
On Monday, two of Winfrey's friends told CNN Money that she is "actively thinking" about a run in 2020, and has been considering such a candidacy for months. She has not made up her mind, one source emphasized.
There has already been some chatter about Oprah! For President. After Sunday's speech, Winfrey's longtime partner Stedman Graham told a Los Angeles Times reporter that a run is not out of the question. "It's up to the people. She would absolutely do it," Graham reportedly said.
Winfrey's openness to a presidential campaign seems predicated on the success of Donald Trump. "The Oprah Winfrey Show" has given the Winfrey near universal name recognition, a strong political tool Trump used to great effect. As Reese Witherspoon said, "There's only one person whose name is a verb, an adjective, and a feeling. And that is Oprah." One might add that Trump enjoys that same distinction...
Winfrey endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. During the Clinton campaign, she said of a female president, "America, it's about time that we made that decision."
In an interview with Bloomberg's David Rubenstein in March, Winfrey seemed to take Trump's lack of political experience as a suggestion that she could also run for president without such experience.
"It's clear you don't need government experience to be elected president of the United States," Rubenstein said. Winfrey backed up his comment saying, "I thought, 'Oh gee, I don't have the experience, I don't know enough.' And now I'm thinking, Oh. Oh!'"
Winfrey has previously said she is not considering a run, but this chatter might encourage her to jump in the race.
If Oprah Winfrey does run, she will have to explain her long-time working relationship with Weinstein. It is ironic that a champion of the #MeToo and "Time's Up" movements against sexual assault has worked so closely with the man whose sordid past effectively launched the #MeToo movement.
Indeed, British actress Kadian Noble said Weinstein used his relationship with Oprah Winfrey to seduce her into having sex with him. When asked directly about Weinstein, Winfrey deflected the question, speaking about sexual assault as an endemic issue overall.
What did Oprah Winfrey know, and when did she know it? Did she merely work with Weinstein because he was in a position of influence? Did she overlook his sordid actions for her own career success? Was she an enabler? Is it acceptable for the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille award to have worked with a man accused of long-time sexual assault?
Winfrey may look tempting to the Left at the moment, but these are important questions. Especially if Winfrey tries to attack Trump on the sexual assault allegations against him, Americans will demand an explanation of her relationship with Weinstein.
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