Self-proclaimed “lifelong Democrat” and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has launched an unexpected entrance into a potential 2020 presidential run, taking aim, intentionally or not, at several Democratic policies and candidates.
Many in the Democratic Party are already worried an Independent candidate in 2020 will split votes in favor of President Donald Trump, and many of Schultz’s latest remarks may make worsen their cause.
“I do not believe in what the Democratic Party stands for,” Schultz said Wednesday on MSNBC‘s “Morning Joe” amid his recent four-day television interview escapade.
The 65-year-old billionaire businessman has also criticized many of the recent policies and comments coming from the Democratic party’s left-wing, calling freshman New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks on billionaires as “misinformed” and “un-American.”
While Schultz supports abortion rights and gun regulation, he’s against expanding Medicare and providing free health care and college tuition for all because of the country’s growing national debt, according to a report from The Washington Post.
Responding to potential 2020 Democratic nominee California Sen. Kamala Harris’s proposal to eliminate private health insurance, Schultz said that too was “not American.”
“What’s next? What industry are we going to abolish next? The coffee industry?” he quipped Tuesday on CBS‘s “This Morning.”
Schultz’s personal Twitter displays his desire to repair the “broken two party system” and to run as the Independent unifier the divided country needs.
The question I think we all should be asking ourselves is: at this time in America when there's so much evidence that our political system is broken – that both parties at the extreme are not representing the silent majority of the American people – isn't there a better way? pic.twitter.com/Gy1wf1cf8F
— Howard Schultz (@HowardSchultz) January 28, 2019
Schultz has also insisted he isn’t running against the Democratic Party, but told Fox News Wednesday that Democrats sounding the alarm over his potential bid “need a little bit less caffeine.”
But many on the left view the billionaire’s potential run as way for Schultz to boost his own ego and waste millions of dollars. A few have even threatened to boycott Starbucks, citing his “vanity projects.”
“What’s ‘ridiculous’ is billionaires who think they can buy the presidency to keep the system rigged for themselves while opportunity slips away for everyone else,” Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote on Twitter in response to Schultz’s criticism of her plan to tax the wealthy.
“It’s time for change,” the 2020 presidential hopeful added.
In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the President. That's a risk I refused to run in 2016 and we can't afford to run it now. https://t.co/SmHM6cYUg7 pic.twitter.com/iQ2CK5o2k6
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) January 28, 2019
Schultz has, for the most part, shrugged off the criticism and outrage from the left, telling Axios Monday that he’s “unfazed” by the pushback.
“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,” Schultz said Sunday in a 60 Minutes interview.
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