NBC deleted a tweet posted during Sunday night’s Golden Globes telecast which appeared to endorse the suggestion made by host Seth Meyers that Oprah Winfrey should be president of the U.S.
“Nothing but respect for OUR future president,” NBC tweeted during the comedian’s monologue on Sunday night.
In a statement released Monday, the network said the tweet, authored by a “third party agency,” was “in reference to a joke made during the monologue and not meant to be a political statement.”
The original tweet met with outrage from conservatives — including Donald Trump Jr. and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer — as well as members of the media who said it called into question the network’s objectivity.
During his monologue, Meyers explained that jokes he told about Donald Trump during the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner — an event he hosted — were reported to have provoked Trump to run for president.
“So if that’s true, I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president. You do not have what it takes,” Meyers said before calling on Tom Hanks. “And Hanks. Where is Hanks? You will never be vice president. You are too mean and unrelatable. Now we just wait and see.”
Later, while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, Winfrey gave a moving speech that led to renewed speculation that the former queen of daytime television is, in fact, considering a presidential run.
CNN reported on Monday that “two of her close friends” say Winfrey is “actively thinking” about a White House bid.
Trump, who once told Larry King that Winfrey would make an ideal running mate if he were to ever run for president, did not respond publicly to Winfrey’s Golden Globes appearance.
But on Air Force One, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley was asked what the White House thought about Winfrey’s speech.
“Regardless of who’s on the ballot, regardless who decides to run against this president, they are going to have to face a president who has record-setting achievements in record-setting time,” Gidley said, “whether it’s an economy that is booming, job creation, historic tax cuts and tax reform when that hadn’t been touched in 30 years, an increase in wages, an absolute decimation of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.”
He added: “We welcome the challenge, whether it be Oprah Winfrey or anybody else.”