January 28, 2019
Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO who confused a lot of people about whether they could use Starbucks bathrooms, announced he is considering running in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
During an interview with "60 Minutes," Schultz said that, if he entered the running, it would be as a "centrist independent." Schultz also made the announcement on Twitter after creating a profile on the social media network that day. As of early Monday afternoon the account only has four tweets.
I love our country, and I am seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent.— Howard Schultz (@HowardSchultz) January 28, 2019
"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," Schultz said in the "60 Minutes" interview, which aired Sunday.
Schultz, a self-described life-long Democrat, was the Starbucks CEO and chairman. He stepped down as CEO first in 2017 and then as the company's chairman in June 2018, a couple months after the controversial arrests of two black men inside the coffee shop at 18th and Spruce streets.
Speculation about Shultz's presidential ambitions began shortly after he left Starbucks.
Despite Schultz's criticism of President Donald Trump, the idea of Schultz's candidacy is sparking backlash among many Democrats and other Trump critics who believe him running – or the candidacy of any prominent, third-party candidate – could aid Trump in winning re-election.
I’m an American political historian and I can assure you that the only thing you’ll accomplish by running for president as a centrist independent is helping re-elect Donald Trump.— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) January 28, 2019
Literally just get up tomorrow morning and match Bill Gates contributions to vaccines and you'll do more for the world than this entire vanity project.— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) January 28, 2019
Others just had a lot of great coffee-related humor to make in their criticisms.
This would be a venti mistake, my dude— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) January 28, 2019
Nobody wants this crappuccino— Jesus Christ (@SonOfGodAndMan) January 28, 2019
Sir, this is a Peet's.— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) January 28, 2019
What is, "How can you get Democrats to give up their Starbucks fix, Alex" https://t.co/fSBHBrSYlj— Christopher Moore (@TheAuthorGuy) January 28, 2019
JUST STOP BURNING YOUR COFFEE THAT IS ALL WE ASK https://t.co/jTFvsG2N4T— Sam Sanders (@samsanders) January 28, 2019
Not looking forward to Venti Venti https://t.co/JXjpGuYuL0— Roman Mars (@romanmars) January 28, 2019
Despite backlash, Schultz said he expected the criticism and was not thwarted by it.
"I'm putting myself in a position that I know is going to create hate, anger, disenfranchisement from friends, from Democrats," Schultz told Axios.
"I'm concerned about one thing: doing everything I can to help families who have been left behind and to restore dignity and honor back in the Oval Office."
"I'm not considering this to win the Twitter primary," he continued.
"I believe that lifelong Democrats and lifelong Republicans are looking for a home, and they're not spending hours and hours on Twitter."
Monday morning, Trump himself also chimed in on the situation via Twitter.
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
If Schultz does indeed run, he joins a increasingly populated field of candidates, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.