How important is celebrity to Donald Trump compared to standing up for his supposed conservative principles?
One heck of a lot. In 1999, during an exploration of a possible 2000 presidential run, he proposed that his running mate should be Oprah Winfrey.
Here’s Trump in October 1999, asserting that Winfrey would be his first choice: “If she’d do it, she’d be fantastic. I mean, she’s popular, she’s brilliant, she’s a wonderful woman.” One month later, he doubled down, telling Wolf Blitzer of CNN that Oprah Winfrey would be a possible running mate.
Trump has always known how to say whatever it takes to ingratiate himself with his audience; in 1998, commenting on the presidential race, he told Winfrey, “ I think Jesse Jackson’s done himself very proud; I think Michael Dukakais has done one hell of a job.”
Nothing changed in 15 years; on the day he announced his candidacy last June, Trump ingratiated himself with ABC News anchor and Clinton hack George Stephanopoulos, reiterating that Winfrey would make a great running mate. He asserted:
I think Oprah would be great. I’d love to have Oprah. I think we’d win easily, actually. She’s great, she’s talented, she’s a friend of mine. She’s a good person. I’ve been on her show. In fact, I was on her show last week, she said, could I be on her show with the whole family? I like Oprah. I mean, is that supposed to be a bad thing? I don’t think so.
Winfrey herself might have some qualms about Trump; as John R. O’Donnell, former president of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, wrote in Trumped!: The Inside Story of the Real Donald Trump-His Cunning Rise and Spectacular Fall, Trump once said, “Laziness is a trait in blacks,” and also raged, “Black guys counting my money! I hate it.”
“Laziness is a trait in blacks.”
Trump acknowledged to Playboy in 1999 that O’Donnell was telling the truth: “The stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true. The guy’s a fucking loser. A fucking loser.”