May 23, 2024

Oprah Winfrey reportedly suggested Sen. Mitt Romney join her on a unity presidential ticket to prevent Donald Trump’s reelection in 2020, according to McKay Coppins, author of upcoming book “Romney: A Reckoning.”

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

For his part Romney, the Republican senator from Utah, told Coppins that he dismissed the idea of choosing Winfrey as his running mate because he thought the campaign would inadvertently help Trump. A source “familiar with Winfrey’s thinking” told Axios, who first reported the story, that she was never serious about running, despite some close to her thinking she should.

On a phone call in 2019 with Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife, Winfrey reportedly told her Michael Bloomberg had approached her about joining his ticket for office and wanted to gauge Mitt Romney’s interest before deciding, The New York Times reported. Winfrey said she doubted Joseph R. Biden Jr. or Pete Buttigieg could beat Trump and was “certain” Elizabeth Warren could not. Ann Romney responded that her husband would not run for president in 2020 as a Republican nor an independent.

Winfrey met the Romneys in 2012 when she interviewed Mitt Romney in New Hampshire as he was running for president. The book reports she was “especially fond” of Ann Romney.

“Romney: A Reckoning” comes out Oct. 24 and is based on dozens of hours of interviews with Romney. The book will also include information from his diaries and journals, providing rare access to his real-time communications. Romney announced last month he would not run for Senate reelection next year.

Variety has contacted Romney’s reps for comment.

This story has been updated.

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