Angry Democrats are planning to boycott Starbucks if former CEO Howard Schultz runs for president. The 65-year-old billionaire has said that he may run as an independent - a move which could peel votes away from whoever wins the Democratic nomination to face President Trump.
Putting it bluntly was a heckler at a New York Barnes & Noble, who told Schultz: "Don't help elect Trump, you egotistical, billionaire asshole."
Here's the video. A heckler shouts at Howard Schultz during an event in New York: "Don't help elect Trump, you egotistical, billionaire asshole." Via CNN pic.twitter.com/oabwfNnsmp— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 29, 2019
Fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg warned Schultz not to run as an independent, writing on Monday that he had to make the same decision in 2008 when he was considering running for office.
"I faced exactly the same decision now facing others who are considering it," said Bloomberg. "The data was very clear and very consistent. Given the strong pull of partisanship and the realities of the electoral college system, there is no way an independent can win."
"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," Bloomberg added. "We must remain united, and we must not allow any candidate to divide or fracture us. The stakes couldn’t be higher."
Schultz, on the other hand, thinks that there are enough moderate voters on both sides of the aisle who are sick of the status quo and will rally behind him.
"I believe that lifelong Democrats and lifelong Republicans are looking for a home," Schultz told Axios on Sunday night - acknowledging that a vote-splitting campaign "is going to create hate, anger, disenfranchisement from friends, from Democrats."
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, called for a Starbucks boycott if Schultz enters the race, tweeting: "Vanity projects that help destroy democracy are disgusting. If he enters the race, I will start a Starbucks boycott because I’m not giving a penny that will end up in the election coffers of a guy who will help Trump win."
Vanity projects that help destroy democracy are disgusting. If he enters the race, I will start a Starbucks boycott because I’m not giving a penny that will end up in the election coffers of a guy who will help Trump win. https://t.co/epUYVrcEg8— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) January 26, 2019
Other prominent Democrats have shared the anti-Schultz sentiment:
"I have a concern that, if he did run, that, essentially, it would provide Donald Trump with his best hope of getting reelected," 2020 hopeful Julián Castro told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. "I would suggest to Mr. Schultz to truly think about the negative impact that that might make."
During his Monday interview at Barnes & Noble, Schultz said that he wouldn't "do anything" to help Trump win again, however he says he believes he would win if he runs.
Q: Would you drop out if polls showed you would help Trump win?— Alexis Levinson (@alexis_levinson) January 29, 2019
Schultz: "If I decide to run for pres as an independent, I will believe, and I will have the conviction and courage to believe, that I will win…I certainly will not do anything to put DT back in the Oval Office."
The former Starbucks head blasted Trump in a Sunday "60 Minutes" interview - saying he isn't fit to serve as president, and that both Democrats and Republicans are "consistently not doing what is necessary on behalf of the American people."
In response to the interview, Trump tweeted on Monday: "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!"
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
Schultz's retort? Nada.
"I’m not going to respond to that. It’s childish. I’m not trying to win the Twitter primary" he said.
Schultz, worth $3.4 billion, owns 33 million shares of Starbucks as of June 26, 2018. He stepped down as executive chairman and board member last June after joining the company in 1982, and is now chairman emeritus.
Watch Schultz's entire hour-long interview below: