Oprah Winfrey: Being president is 'not something that interests me'

This billionaire started with nothing, but she made it anyway

After Oprah Winfrey's powerful acceptance speech at the Golden Globes on January 8, many called for the self-made billionaire to run for U.S. president in 2020. Among the more renowned supporters were civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson Sr., Seth Meyers, Sarah Silverman and Winfrey's longtime partner Stedman Graham.

Despite the enthusiasm for "Oprah 2020," Winfrey said the position just isn't for her.

"I've always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not. And so it's not something that interests me. I don't have the DNA for it," Winfrey said in a profile for InStyle Magazine's March cover story.

Award show host Seth Meyers first planted the seed for speculation during his opening monologue at the Golden Globes when he teased how reverse psychology could get Winfrey to run for president.

"In 2011, I told some jokes about our current president at the White House correspondents' dinner, jokes about how he was unqualified to be president," the NBC late-night host said. "And some have said that night convinced him to run. And if that's true, I would just like to say Oprah you will never be president."

Further speculation over Winfrey's potential presidential bid spread immediately after her acceptance speech for the 2018 Golden Globes' Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.

Although Winfrey has denied any plans for a presidential bid, Bloomberg reports, Graham told the Los Angeles Times that it's truly the public's decision.

"It's up to the people," he told the newspaper when asked about a presidential run. "She would absolutely do it."

Meryl Streep, the acclaimed actress and last year's winner of the Globes' award told the Washington Post that Winfrey "launched a rocket" Sunday evening.

"I want her to run for president," Streep said. "I don't think she had any intention [of declaring]. But now she doesn't have a choice."

Streep went on to call Winfrey's speech "a barnburner."

"She runs a major company. She could lead the country. Instead of leading the country down," Streep added.

Winfrey began the speech by reflecting on her own life and career, discussed the importance of being the first black woman to win the prestigious award and closed it by addressing the progress the media industry still needs to make.

"I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon," Winfrey said, referring to Hollywood's ongoing conversation against sexual harassment. "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."

Here are some of the celebrities calling for Winfrey to run for U.S. president in 2020:

Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.:

Rev Jesse Jackson tweet

Television host Joy-Ann Reid:

Joy Reid tweet

Country singer Billy Gilman:

Billy Gilman tweet

Singer, actress and model Janelle Monáe:

Janelle Monáe

Bestselling author Roxane Gay:

Roxane Gay tweet

Comedian and night-show host Larry Wilmore:

Larry Wilmore tweet

Actress and comedian Sarah Silverman:

Sarah Silverman tweet

Actor and producer John Stamos:

John Stamos tweet

Actor and singer Leslie Odom Jr.:

Leslie Odom jr tweet

Film exec Franklin Leonard:

Franklin Leonard tweet

In October last year, Winfrey said she had never considered the possibility of running for president. On "CBS This Morning," she shut down her longtime friend Gayle King's question about a potential vice president shortlist.


"There will be no running for office of any kind for me," Winfrey told King.

Although CNN reported that Winfrey had been "actively thinking" about running for president, according to two close friends of hers, Winfrey has persistently stopped in their tracks.

"Gayle—who knows me as well as I know myself practically—has been calling me regularly and texting me things, like a woman in the airport saying, 'When's Oprah going to run?'," Winfrey said.

Still, King would immediately follow up by telling Winfrey, "I know, I know, I know! It wouldn't be good for you—it would be good for everyone else."

Even as people offer to assist Winfrey in starting her presidential career, she turns them away.

"I met with someone the other day who said that they would help me with a campaign," Winfrey said. "That's not for me."

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This is an updated version of a previously published story.

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