Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has said he is “seriously considering” running for president in 2020.
Howard Schultz, who stepped down as Starbucks’ boss in 2018, says he is considering running as a centrist independent candidate in 2020.
In a series of tweets, he said the current two political parties in the US were “more divided than ever”.
During an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Howard Schultz said he had been a “lifelong Democrat” but criticized the current two-party dominated system.
He said: “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.”
Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro is among those who have criticized the move.
Julián Castro told CNN that Howard Schultz’s potential run could give President Donald Trump the “best hope of getting re-elected” by splitting the opposition vote.
He said: “I would suggest to Mr. Schultz to truly think about the negative impact that might make.”
Howard Schultz rebuffed that criticism during his CBS interview, insisting: “I wanna see the American people 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.”
Howard Schultz, a former espresso machine salesman, grew up in public housing in Brooklyn, New York.
He started working for the original Seattle Starbucks chain back in 1982 when it only had 11 outlets selling coffee beans.
Howard Schultz, now 65, acquired the company in 1987 and by the time he stepped down in 2018, it had grown to 28,000 cafe in 77 countries around the world.
He frequently used his position to speak out on social issues like immigration and gun control.
He now has an estimated fortune of about $3 billion and is a regular donor to Democrat campaigns, including that of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Howard Schultz’s departure as CEO of Starbucks last year sparked rumor of his political ambitions.
His comments on January 27 prompted coffee-themed criticism by some on social media.
The Washington State Democrats posted a photograph, without comment, of a Starbucks cup with: “Don’t do it Howard” written on.