“Once I ran for office she diverged,” Trump said as he was campaigning in Macon, Ga., on Sunday with Brian Kemp, who is running for Georgia governor. Winfrey headlined two rallies last week for Kemp’s opponent, Stacey Abrams.
What was notable was the extent to which he didn’t bash Winfrey, who has a high favorability rating, but linked himself to her career.
He told the rally crowd in Macon, Ga., that Winfrey has “has been down to Mar-A-Lago,” and that “until I ran for office we did very well. We had a good relationship. I like Oprah.”
But then he claimed to have been on one of Winfrey’s final shows in 2011 and that some effort is being made to get rid of the tape of the episode. Trump’s final appearance on her show was on Feb. 7, 2011. Her final show was May 25.
“Oprah, when she ended her show, had the five most important people. I assume. Her last week,” Trump said. “Remember her last week. Well I was on her full show in the last week. I think they are trying the burn the tape.”
Trump’s claim dates back at least five years. In 2013 he posted a photo on Instagram of he and his family with Winfrey, but the photo is labeled as occurring in her show’s final week, when in fact it took place months earlier. Back then, Trump called her “terrific,” and even after he launched his campaign, he posted a link to his 1988 appearance on her show.
In February, after Winfrey appeared on “60 Minutes” in a segment in which she interviews a focus group of Trump voters and non-Trump voters, Trump tweeted that she was “very insecure.”
“The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!” he wrote.
Winfrey did not mention Trump by name in her campaign appearances, but she did decry all the “noise,” “vitriol” and “crazy talk” that is now part of political discourse.
Trump’s relationship with Winfrey goes far back. In a 1988 appearance on her show, just two years after it started, he talked about his presidential aspirations.
Winfrey has dismissed speculation that she would want to run for president, but she drew helped draw large crowds to her appearances with Abrams, which also included going door-to-door to meet voters. Tickets to the events were claimed quickly.
“Oprah was here endorse Stacey and I am here to endorse Brian. And you know what? I hope you are going to listen to my endorsement,” Trump said.