The former CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, is expected to announce that he is considering an independent bid for the presidency Sunday night on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
Schultz told The Atlantic that the interview is “already recorded” and that “he is thinking very seriously about a presidential run—but he stops short of a full announcement.” Schultz would run as a third party candidate, because, he says, he identifies as a businessman and not as a Republican or Democrat.
Schultz sees himself largely as an “alternative” to President Donald Trump, but with some of the same experience, having helmed Starbucks for more than two decades (albeit in two separate stints, according to The Atlantic), and wants to replace Trump with more “qualified” leadership.
“Not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics,” he told “60 Minutes,” according to a press release.
Schultz has been more forthcoming with praise for Trump than Democratic contenders, according to CNBC, but is clearly a progressive who opposes tax reform and lessening government regulation. As CEO of Starbucks, he presided over a “social justice” transformation of the company, pushing Starbucks to become a central voice on issues like sexism, racism, and wealth inequality.
The New York Times also reports that Starbucks, under Schultz, weighed in on gun control, gay marriage, a 2013 government shutdown, and pioneered a bizarre program called “race together” that encouraged Starbucks baristas to start “uncomfortable” conversations about diversity and racial bias with customers picking up their morning lattes.
In 2018, Schultz instituted a four-hour “racial bias” training progran in Starbucks stores, meant to address issues of bathroom use, but may have provided him a convenient platfom to begin building on his presidential aspirations.
President Donald Trump probably isn’t very worried about Schultz’s nascent campaign — which has yet to begin in earnest — but Democrats are certainly up in arms about Schultz’s ambitions.
“Already top Democratic operatives working for presidential candidates and beyond say they’re worried that the only thing he’ll accomplish is making sure Donald Trump gets reelected. It’s more than just sniping at a prospective opponent; word that he might invest in an independent run has many of them clearly worried about how he’d split votes in a general election,” The Atlantic reports.
The conflict played out on Twitter Sunday, after Schultz Tweeted his first missive, announcing a “social media listening tour” in preparation for compiling a more comprehensive platform.
It feels good to be here. My hope is to share my truth, listen to yours, build trust, and focus on things that can make us better.
— Howard Schultz (@HowardSchultz) January 27, 2019
Potential voters were … not impressed.
Just. Don’t. pic.twitter.com/XczkZCOfqM
— William D. Adler (@williamadler78) January 27, 2019
Others were less conciliatory.
The ratio started immediately for a rather innocuous tweet. The hint should be taken. https://t.co/0AtYv2KRWo
— Andrew Donaldson (@four4thefire) January 27, 2019
dunking on this doofus is going to be the only good thing about 2020 https://t.co/54VDgRgTKy
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) January 27, 2019
Get out. You are not welcome. https://t.co/X3ICleEKwE
— Aaron Morse (@MorseCode206) January 27, 2019