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Schultz Blames Ocasio-Cortez’s Progressive Policies for His Likely 2020 Run as an Independent

Former Starbucks CEO blasts 70 percent marginal tax rate — plus the radical health care ideas of Kamala Harris

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz revealed Monday night that he will most likely run as an independent in the 2020 presidential election. That’s because the far-Left policies of those such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have driven him away from the Democratic Party, he says.

Schultz (pictured above left), stoked 2020 speculation when he stepped down from his CEO position in December 2016 and relinquished his spot as the company’s executive chairman in June 2018.

Schultz confirmed this speculation in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” when he announced that he is “seriously thinking of running for president.”

Although he’s a self-described “lifelong Democrat,” Schultz shocked and angered many Democrats when he said that if he ran, he would run as an independent — not a Democrat.

Many felt Schultz would guarantee President Donald Trump’s re-election if he ran as an independent — and split the Democrats’ vote.

But Schultz told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on Monday he could not run as a Democrat because of the leftward lurch the party’s taken recently.

“I respect the Democratic Party,” Schultz said. “I no longer feel affiliated because I don’t know [that] their views represent the majority of Americans. I don’t think we want a 70 percent income tax in America.”

Schultz was apparently referring to the 70 percent marginal tax rate on those who make more than $10 million that Ocasio-Cortez (above right) has called for implementing.

“The way I’ve come to this decision is, I believe that if I ran as a Democrat, I would have to say things that I know in my heart I do not believe, and I would have to be disingenuous,” Schultz said.

When Ocasio-Cortez pulled off her stunning upset primary victory last summer and unseated 10-term former Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), her progressive policies suddenly became much more mainstream, as other Democrats began calling for their implementation.

The young Democratic socialist spoke with CNN anchor and CBS correspondent Anderson Cooper for an interview that aired on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” earlier in January. She argued she could pay for her radical Green New Deal plan with the 70 percent marginal tax.

“You know, you look at our tax rates back in the ’60s, and when you have a progressive tax rate system, your tax rate, you know, let’s say, from zero to $75,000 may be 10 percent or 15 percent, et cetera,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

“But once you get to, like, the tippy tops, on your 10 millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent,” the congresswoman continued. “That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that as you climb up this ladder you should be contributing more.”

Related: Trump Says Howard Schultz Lacks the ‘Guts’ to Run for President

The newly minted lawmaker has vociferously defended her progressive tax plan in the face of conservatives’ criticism of it.

But Schultz also distanced himself from far-Left ideas espoused by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is running for president as a Democrat in 2020.

Harris officially kicked off her presidential bid over the weekend with an event in Oakland, California.

I am running to declare, once and for all, that health care is a fundamental right. And we will deliver that right with Medicare for All,” Harris said during her speech.

When asked during a CNN town hall on Monday about for-profit health care insurers, Harris replied, “Let’s eliminate all of that … Let’s move on.”

Schultz is no fan of these radical policies, and he made that clear during an interview Tuesday on “CBS Morning.” He ripped Harris for wanting “to abolish the insurance industry.”

“That’s not correct. That’s not American,” Schultz said, adding, “What’s next? What industry are we going to abolish next? The coffee industry?”

Check out more in the video below: