Claiming that former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz doesn’t have the “guts” to run for president against him after Schultz publicly mulled a potential bid, President Donald Trump put down Schultz on Monday for his stated intentions.
Schultz, 65, stepped down from his CEO position in December 2016 and relinquished his position as Starbucks’ executive chairman in June 2018 — thus stoking 2020 election speculation.
Schultz (pictured above left) announced in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that he is, in fact, “seriously thinking of running for president.”
Although he’s a self-described “lifelong Democrat,” his comments that he would run as an independent came as a surprise.
Schultz said he would “run as a centrist independent, outside of the two-party system” because “we’re living at a most fragile time — 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.”
When CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley pressed Schultz about his reasoning for running as an independent, Schultz replied, in part, “I’ve been a lifelong Democrat. I look at both parties — we see extremes on both sides.”
Schultz criticized both Republicans and Democrats for their “reckless failure of their constitutional responsibility.”
When asked if he was worried about siphoning votes “away from the Democrats and, thereby, ensur[ing] that President Trump has a second term,” Schultz claimed that he wants to “see the American people win.”
“I wanna see America win. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, independent, Libertarian, Republican. Bring me your ideas. And I will be an independent person, who will embrace those ideas. Because I am not, in any way, in bed with a party,” Schultz said.
Trump took to Twitter on Monday to react to the prospect of running against Schultz in 2020.
“Howard Schultz doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to run for president! Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the ‘smartest person.’ Besides, America already has that! I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!” Trump wrote.
Howard Schultz doesn’t have the “guts” to run for President! Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the “smartest person.” Besides, America already has that! I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2019
During his “60 Minutes” interview, Schultz did say that he had “a long history of recognizing” that “I’m not the smartest person in the room” when it comes to making “great decisions about complex problems.”
Schultz said he learned, as a result, to “recruit and attract people who are smarter than me and more experienced, more skilled.”
The Democrats already have a crowded field of candidates, as well as several key contenders who haven’t made any announcements to run yet.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is one of the most recent to declare her intentions.
Some liberals frowned on Schultz’s decision to run as an independent and not as a Democrat.
Bloomberg Foundation’s Howard Wolfson tweeted on Sunday, “I have seen enough data over many years to know that anyone running for POTUS as an independent will split the anti-incumbent, anti-Trump vote. The stakes couldn’t be higher. We cannot afford the risk of spoiler politics that result in Trump’s re-election.”
I have seen enough data over many years to know that anyone running for POTUS as an independent will split the anti-incumbent, anti-Trump vote. The stakes couldn’t be higher. We can not afford the risk of spoiler politics that result in Trump’s re-election.
— howard wolfson (@howiewolf) January 28, 2019
But Schultz told Axios on Sunday after his “60 Minutes” interview that he wasn’t fazed by Democrats’ pushback.
“I’m putting myself in a position that I know is going to create hate, anger, disenfranchisement from friends, from Democrats,” Schultz said. “I believe that lifelong Democrats and lifelong Republicans are looking for a home, and they’re not spending hours and hours on Twitter.”
Schultz also said he didn’t care about emerging victorious from “the Twitter primary.”
Check out more in the video below: