Political News

Gillibrand: Oprah's Golden Globes speech was 'powerful'

Posted January 8, 2018 2:01 p.m. EST

— Oprah Winfrey is "actively thinking" about running for president of the United States, according to two of her close friends, and many are already expressing their support for the TV star -- even a potential 2020 primary opponent.

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who has frequently been mentioned as a formidable candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2020, spoke in her home state on Monday morning and praised Winfrey's speech at the Golden Globes the night before.

"I thought her speech at the Golden Globes was powerful," Gillibrand said. "I'm really grateful to what she said and I think she's a real leader. And I think her voice is powerful and important, and whatever she wants to do she should do."

Winfrey's speech was the talk of the entertainment and political worlds after Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes.

"I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon. 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," Winfrey said during her acceptance remarks.

The main focus of her speech was on the #MeToo movement. But her hopeful message -- "A new day is on the horizon" -- is being seen as a potential campaign rallying cry.

Some of Winfrey's confidants have been privately urging her to run, the sources close to the TV host said.

One of the sources said these conversations date back several months. The person emphasized that Winfrey has not made up her mind about running.

On the other hand, Gillibrand has consistently been found near the top of potential 2020 candidate lists, especially since she became the first senator to call on her fellow Democrat, former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, to resign from Congress after sexual assault allegations against him came to light.

Soon after, Gillibrand told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that she believed President Donald Trump should also resign over allegations of sexual assault. At least 15 women came forward before the 2016 election with a wide range of accusations against Trump, spanning from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior around women.

"President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign," Gillibrand said.

This isn't the first time Winfrey has stoked political speculation since Trump was elected in 2016. Weeks after that election, Winfrey signaled that Trump's victory may have changed her thinking.

Asked in an interview with fellow billionaire David Rubenstein whether she may be able to break the glass ceiling to be elected president, Winfrey smiled.

"I actually never thought that that was -- I never considered the conversation even a possibility. I just thought, oh, oh," she said in a December 2016 conversation on Bloomberg's "The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations."

She followed up: "No, that won't be happening, but I mean, I did used to think, well gee, you had to know so much more than I thought you had to know."