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Oprah asked Mitt Romney to run in 2020 to thwart Trump, book claims

Oprah Winfrey once tried to convince Sen. Mitt Romney to run for president as an independent in a desperate attempt to ensure President Donald Trump would not win re-election in 2020, a forthcoming book claims.

The retiring Utah Republican told journalist McKay Coppins that Winfrey pitched the pair running on a unity ticket to “save the country,” a source familiar with Coppins’ manuscript for “Romney: A Reckoning” told Axios.

The tome, due out next week, claims Romney ultimately dismissed the idea — believing it would ultimately help Trump more than hurt him.

But a spokesperson for Winfrey denied that the media mogul and former talk show host ever suggested they run together — claiming that Oprah just wanted Romney to run.

“In November 2019, Ms. Winfrey called Sen. Romney to encourage him to run on an independent ticket,” the spokesperson told Axios.

“She was not calling to be part of the ticket and was never considering running herself.”

In the book, Coppins claims Winfrey explained to Romney that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was preparing to enter the race for president — and had approached her about being his running mate, according to an excerpt obtained by the New York Times.

Before Winfrey decided whether to take Bloomberg up on his offer, Coppins writes, she wanted to gauge Romney’s interest in running together.

She reportedly expressed doubt that Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg could beat the then-president, and was “certain” that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren could not, according to the Times.

Romney “heard the pitch, and told her he was flattered, but that he would have to pass,” Coppins writes in the excerpt.

However, Coppins claims, Romney had been considering a run for president against Trump in 2020.

“Romney relished the idea of running a presidential campaign in which he could say whatever he thought, without regard for the political consequences,” Coppins writes in another excerpt of the memoir published last month by The Atlantic.

He reportedly told Coppins, “I must admit I’d love being on stage with Donald Trump … and just saying, ‘That’s stupid. Why are you saying that?’”

“Romney relished the idea of running a presidential campaign in which he could say whatever he thought, without regard for the political consequences,” Coppins writes in another excerpt of the memoir published last month by The Atlantic.

The senator, though, later “abandoned” the idea “once he realized that he’d most likely end up siphoning off votes from the Democratic nominee and ensuring a Trump victory.”

The book is based on dozens of hours of interviews conducted by Coppins, along with Romney’s journal and diary entries.

The Atlantic excerpt notes that the senator studied “his colleagues like he was an anthropologist, jotting down his observations in his journal.”

He had especially harsh words for some of his fellow Republicans, lambasting some recent arrivals as flagrant political opportunists scared to cross Trump.

“I don’t know that I can disrespect someone more than J. D. Vance,” Romney told Coppins, recounting that he had crossed paths with the Ohio Republican years earlier and been impressed by his best-selling book “Hillbilly Elegy” and its thoughtful musings about the GOP’s future without falling under the spell of the future 45th president.

But when Vance ran for Senate in 2022 and echoed some of Trump’s wildest attacks on Democrats and President Biden, Romney began to sour on him.

“I do wonder, how do you make that decision? How can you go over a line so stark as that — and for what?” the septuagenarian vented. “It’s not like you’re going to be famous and powerful because you became a United States senator. It’s like, ‘Really? You sell yourself so cheap?’”

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