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Wednesday 18 July 2018

Ivanka Trump mocked after praising 'inspiring' Oprah Winfrey speech

Oprah Winfrey's speech caused a stir among Democrats hopeful she will make a bid for the White House (AP)
Oprah Winfrey's speech caused a stir among Democrats hopeful she will make a bid for the White House (AP)

Ivanka Trump has been mocked for backing Oprah Winfrey's "inspiring" speech praising women for speaking out against sexual harassment.

Winfrey's impassioned call for "a brighter morning even in our darkest nights" at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday had Democratic Party activists buzzing about the media superstar and the 2020 presidential race

Republican President Donald Trump's daughter endorsed her message - if not a political future - in a tweet saying: "Just saw @Oprah's empowering and inspiring speech at last night's #GoldenGlobes. Let's all come together, women & men, & say #TIMESUP! #UNITED."

The backlash on Twitter was swift, with actress Alyssa Milano and others noting that Ms Trump's father has been accused by several women of sexual harassment and was recorded bragging about sexual assault.

Milano tweeted: "Great! You can make a lofty donation to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund that is available to support your father's accusers."

For Democrats in early voting states, and perhaps for a public that largely disapproves of Mr Trump's performance, the notion of a popular media figure as a presidential candidate is not as strange as it once seemed, given the New York real estate mogul and reality TV star now in the White House.

"Look, it's ridiculous - and I get that," said Brad Anderson, Barack Obama's 2012 Iowa campaign director. "At the same time, politics is ridiculous right now."

Winfrey's speech as she accepted the Cecil B DeMille lifetime achievement award touched on her humble upbringing and childhood wonder at civil rights heroes.

But it was her exhortation of the legions of women who have called out sexual harassers - and her dream of a day "when nobody has to say 'me too' again" - that got some political operatives, in early voting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, thinking she might be just what the Democrats need.

Liz Purdy, who led Democrat Hillary Clinton's 2008 New Hampshire presidential primary campaign, said: "I think we need more role models like her that are speaking to young women and trying to restore some hope.

"The election of Donald Trump was a devastating setback for little girls."

Mr Trump's job approval rating was just 32% in December, according to an Associated Press-NORC poll.

He is the least popular first-year president on record, and has also been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, although he has vehemently denied the allegations.

Winfrey, in September and October, publicly dismissed the notion of seeking the nation's highest office, though she noted that Mr Trump's victory made her rethink the requirements of the office.

Winfrey's longtime partner, Stedman Graham, told the Los Angeles Times that "it's up to the people" whether she will be president, adding: "She would absolutely do it."

Winfrey, 64, has become a cultural phenomenon over the past 30-plus years, born into a poor home in Mississippi but breaking through as a television news and talk show personality in the 1980s.

Over 30 years, she became the face of television talk shows, starred and produced feature films, and began her own network.

Mr Trump himself has lavished praise on her over the years, including in 2015, when he said he would consider her as a running mate on his Republican ticket.

"I like Oprah," he told ABC News in June 2015. "I think Oprah would be great. I'd love to have Oprah. I think we'd win easily, actually."

It echoed comments he made in 1999 when he was weighing a presidential candidacy in the Reform Party.

"If she'd do it, she'd be fantastic. I mean, she's popular, she's brilliant, she's a wonderful woman," Mr Trump told CNN's Larry King.

Late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel said at a press conference on Monday that he thought Winfrey's speech was "preaching to the choir" with her Hollywood audience.

"That said, given the choice between Oprah and our current president, I'm on the bus with Oprah travelling the country encouraging people to sign up and vote," he said.

AP

Press Association

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