A top Republican opposition research firm responded to buzz over Oprah Winfrey's 2020 presidential prospects by saying it is prepared to examine her just as it would any other potential Democratic candidate.
"America Rising is already anticipating an expansive Democratic field in 2020, and should Oprah Winfrey decide to join the primary, we stand ready to examine her extensive public record and business empire as we would any other candidate," said Alex Smith, the group's executive director.
The talk about Winfrey running for president in 2020 began following a speech she delivered at the Golden Globes that has dominated the news cycle for the past two days. CNN's Van Jones declared her the "queen of the universe" and "most beloved carbon-based life form on earth," who would "destroy anyone in front of her" if she ran. Elsewhere on CNN Chris Cillizza said he could "close his eyes" and envision Winfrey delivering her speech to voters in Iowa.
There has been little indication that Winfrey will actually run for office. NBC, which tweeted out a now-deleted presidential endorsement for Winfrey during her Sunday speech, reported late Monday that Winfrey was telling friends she has "no intention of running."
A rush to examine Winfrey's many decades as a public figure, however, has already begun.
The Washington Examiner‘s Philip Wegmann labeled Winfrey a "gold mine of opposition research," pointing to stories such as the time advice given on her show led a woman to decide against receiving cancer treatment due to a belief she could be healed through "positive thinking."
The Washington Post similarly published an article titled, "Oprah might run for president. We did the opposition research for you." It pointed out issues such as her close friendship with Harvey Weinstein, many years of child sex abuse at a school Winfrey founded in South Africa, and her comments that old people "have to die" to end racism.
The Washington Free Beacon also unearthed comments made by Winfrey in 2011 complaining about how much she is taxed as one of the wealthiest people in the world.
"I think it's so irritating that once I die, 55 percent of my money goes to the United States government," Winfrey said. "You know why it's so irritating? Because you already paid nearly 50 percent when the money was earned."
Though America Rising says it will dig into Winfrey just as it would any other candidate, it says the obsession over her political prospects is a sign of how "lackluster" the Democratic field is.
"More than anything, rumors of her candidacy have exposed how lackluster the current Democratic bench is," Smith said.
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he doesn't think Winfrey will run but if she does he will beat her.