But an identical jab from the talk show host to Donald Trump at the 2011 White House correspondents’ dinner is rumored to have motivated 45th president to run, and now Meyers may have persuaded another mogul to at least consider the idea.
“Some have said that night convinced him to run,” Meyers reflected onstage. “So, if that’s true, I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president! You do not have what it takes. And Hanks! Where’s Hanks? You will never be vice president. You are too mean and unrelatable. Now we just wait and see.”
In nearly nine minutes, the media mogul, actress, and philanthropist communicated to people across the country what they’ve been waiting to hear for years — a call to all industries, and to all women and men, to take action against society’s most toxic systematic issues. The speech was indeed presidential in both the manner of its delivery and its meaning, which left many on social media — including, for a few hours, the NBC network — begging one question: Will Oprah (please) run for president in 2020?
Much like the other political initiative of the night, #TimesUp, a hashtag and social media campaign quickly followed Oprah’s speech, while media correspondents at the event asked about her reaction. The Los Angeles Times told the A Wrinkle in Time actress, “The internet is saying Oprah for president in 2020.” To which Oprah responded, “I’m just glad I got through the speech!” But when pressed later about her consideration for running, she slyly said, “Okaay!”
— Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) January 8, 2018
“It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it,” Graham shared. While Meryl Streep told The Washington Post, “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.”
Additionally, two blindly sourced ‘friends’ of Winfrey told CNN on Monday that her confidants have privately been urging her to run, and these conversations date back several months. The sources did stress, however, that Winfrey’s mind is not made up.
The sentiments are shared throughout social media.
Why this massive #Oprah2020 moment?
Because Oprah is the antithesis of Trump: A well-spoken, incredibly smart & confident black woman, who energizes people not with hatred & anger, but with hope & vision. When we hear her speak, it reminds us of who we can be as a country.
— Like, Totally Stable Genius (@dvorakoelling) January 8, 2018
— Elizabeth Weitzman (@EWeitzman) January 8, 2018
I will now officially divide time like this : Everything that happened before @Oprah speech : Everything that will happen after.
— Reese Witherspoon (@RWitherspoon) January 8, 2018
I would willingly vote for a woman with no political experience, but excelled at the human experience. #Oprah2020
— Tangela Ekhoff (@tangelaekhoff) January 8, 2018
Oprah went from being dirt poor to becoming an ACTUAL self made billionaire, is intelligent, empathetic, hardworking & has done so much humanitarian work on top of being one of the best communicators on earth, why SHOULDN'T she run for president?! #Oprah2020
— Matty (@mattymonsterz) January 8, 2018
But with so many people posing the rhetorical question of why shouldn’t she run, others are providing some answers.
In a piece for The Daily Beast titled “Why Oprah Winfrey Shouldn’t Run for President,” Ira Madison III addresses this exact point, while acknowledging the many reasons that people believe she should. “Oprah is a generous queen for sure,” Madison writes, “but let’s not pretend that her stepping into the White House would magically mean a new Pontiac arrives on the doorstep of every American who voted for her.”
Another Twitter user addressed the work that has yet to be done before a woman like Oprah could even have a chance at the presidency. And it has a lot to do with who Americans are currently voting for.
Y'all want #Oprah2020 so bad? Prove it. Spend this year electing Black women to office in 2018. Put in the work. Show some receipts. Then we can talk about the presidency in 2020. Deal? pic.twitter.com/6zX0rpTJJ3
— April (@ReignOfApril) January 8, 2018
The man behind Louder With Crowder, Steven Crowder, also took a hit back at those who are highlighting Oprah’s many wins by insinuating some hypocrisy in her speech. With a meme that’s now gone viral of Oprah alongside Harvey Weinstein, Crowder hopes that the photo will make an impact.
— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) January 8, 2018
It’s unclear how impactful the old photos of the female mogul have been amongst the rest that are celebratory, and her words, which were so uplifting — including those that acknowledge a person’s mistakes.
“I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you,” Winfrey said in her speech, “but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.”
After prevailing through the dark nights of 2017, it seems that the New Year is already feeling a bit brighter with Oprah’s poised words. Yet we’re still left wondering what exactly she means when she says, “a new day is on the horizon!” And time will have to tell.
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