A photo of Mitt Romney opposite a photo of Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Says Mitt Romney Is a Liar, She Never Wanted To Run for President

If you’re like me and believe all rich people know each other, what I’m about to share with you will not dissuade you from this belief. Let me paint a picture with words because I’ve been asked by everyone who knows me to stop giving them poorly sketched-out crayon drawings and calling it art: there is a new book coming out about Utah Senator and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. It’s called Romney: A Reckoning and it’s by McKay Coppins. Coppins is a journalist who made a name for himself in 2012 covering Romney’s failed presidential bid, offering up an LDS (i.e., Mormon) perspective on the campaign, a faith Romney shares.

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This is all to set up that in Coppins’ book, it is stated that Oprah Winfrey called up Mitt Romney in the fall of 2019 to tell him they should run on an independent unity ticket for President. Per The New York Times:

Concerned that the Democratic field wasn’t up to the task of stopping President Donald J. Trump in 2020, Oprah Winfrey pitched Mitt Romney on the idea of running for president as an independent, with her as his running mate, according to a forthcoming biography of the Republican senator from Utah.

Ms. Winfrey floated the unusual ticket in a phone call she placed to Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, in November 2019, according to an excerpt from the book, “Romney: A Reckoning,” that was shared with The New York Times.

Mr. Romney at least listened to the idea. (It was Oprah calling, after all.) He “heard the pitch, and told her he was flattered, but that he’d have to pass,” the author, McKay Coppins of The Atlantic, writes.

Look, this is a bold claim about arguably one of the most famous women in the world, which means it’s easily fact-checked. Surely Winfrey would have something to say about this when the book was published, or more accurately, when this detail was leaked for PR purposes to drum up interest in said book, yes? This is a rhetorical question because obviously I have the answer for you, and it’s exactly what you’d expect. Per the above source:

Liz Johnson, an aide to Mr. Romney, declined to comment on Monday. A spokeswoman for Ms. Winfrey said in a statement that she had urged Mr. Romney to run, but not with her.

“In November 2019, Ms. Winfrey called Senator Romney to encourage him to run on an independent ticket,” the statement said. “She was not calling to be part of the ticket and was never considering running herself.”

I love Oprah. A lot. I grew up on her show. I don’t really get what she was going for here. If I had access to basically anyone in the world, like she seems to have, I would spend the majority of my free time calling up Coca-Cola executives and demanding they tell me what the secret formula for Coke is. Then, once I got it, I would go down a list of all secret food items and collect their recipes because why not?! It’s certainly more harmless than asking rich people who already lost the job once before to run for president again!

I would like to point out that in September 2019, Presidential candidate hopeful Joe Biden was trouncing then-President Donald Trump in polls for Wisconsin a massive swing state and key for the Dems to win an electoral college map; and in national polls. Not for nothing, but Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were kicking Trump’s ass in an early November poll, too. It’s not like there weren’t viable candidates!

I get the fear of a second Trump term, I do. I think anyone with a conscience was terrified he would get reelected. Hindsight is always 20/20 but looking back, it does seem like Trump never really stood a chance against Biden. Granted, Biden wasn’t the official nominee yet, but still. There were candidates that stood a chance. There’s never been a third-party presidential candidate that has done anything but siphon off votes from one of the two parties, so what exactly what Winfrey going for here?!

Well, according to the book, it gets even weirder. Per The New York Times:

On the phone with Ms. Romney, Ms. Winfrey explained that Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, was preparing to enter the race and had approached her about joining his ticket. Before she decided, she wanted to gauge Mr. Romney’s interest.

Seriously, does every rich person in America know each other?! The best possible reading of this was that Winfrey saw Bloomberg getting in on the Presidential action and decided to call up Romney to tell him to do the same and be a thorn in Trump’s side. Offer up an alternative to Trump’s, well, general Trump-ness.

Thankfully we don’t have to think too deeply about the hypotheticals, because none of it happened. Good! Joe Biden beat Trump, by a lot actually, and Trump eventually stepped down from the presidency, despite throwing a massive hissy fit alleging voter fraud and inciting an insurrection in the process (both of which have gotten him charged in their respective jurisdictions, by the way). Naturally, we’re gearing up for this all over again in about a year with the 2024 Presidential election but maybe we’ll luck out and Trump will be in prison this time, and Oprah won’t have to call up any other mega-rich guys to run as independents. We can dream, can’t we?

(featured image: Win McNamee / Roy Rochlin, Getty Images)


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Author
Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.