When Oprah Winfrey decided to support Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in May 2007, it was the first time she had ever publicly endorsed a presidential candidate.
As Winfrey told Larry King at the time, “I think that what he stands for, what he has proven that he can stand for, what he has shown was worth me going out on a limb for—and I haven’t done it in the past because I haven’t felt that anybody, I didn’t know anybody well enough to be able to say, I believe in this person.”
But at the same time, she added, “I have great respect for Hillary Clinton. I think I’ve said this before and it’s true: Because I am for Barack does not mean I am against Hillary or anybody else. So the fact that I would endorse Barack Obama and the fact that I would support Barack Obama, I have not one negative thing to say about Hillary Clinton.”
Now, nine years later, Winfrey has waited for the Democratic primary to be all but over to formally endorse Clinton over Donald Trump, a man who once floated her name as a possible running mate. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Winfrey said it is “about time” for America to elect its first female president, calling this a “seminal moment for women.”
But Winfrey saved any commentary about Clinton’s general election rival for an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live’s “Game Night” special, which aired before Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. When Jimmy Kimmel brought up Trump’s past assertions that Winfrey would be his “first choice” for vice president, his guest said, “I think he was just joking about that.”
Asked by Kimmel how she would react if Trump were to reach out to her, Winfrey replied, “I would say, ‘Donald, I’m with her.’”
“True or false, if you decided, and if you were able to do this, to run for president, today, you would beat both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,” Kimmel then posited to Winfrey, drawing loud cheers from his audience.
“I do not believe that,” Winfrey said, playing down her immense popularity. “And believe me, that is never, will never—it’s the one thing that I know for sure, sure, sure, is I will never run for office.” But all of that being said, Winfrey added that whenever people would throw out her name as a potential presidential candidate over the years, she would wonder, “Why do people say that? I have no qualifications to run.”
Yet in the age of Trump, she has started to reconsider that position, at least to a degree. “I’m feeling pretty qualified,” she joked. “After this year, I’m feeling really qualified.”