Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who spent much of the spring traveling the country exploring a presidential campaign, is putting off his decision on whether to actually run for president until the fall, he said Wednesday.
In a letter to supporters, Schultz said he will be taking the summer off to recover from three separate back surgeries in the last two months. He said he would be back in touch after Labor Day, but offered no hint as to whether he will ultimately launch the independent presidential campaign he’s been touting since January.
Schultz had previously said he would decide on whether to run by late spring or early summer. But he had essentially gone quiet since late April, halting his nationwide tour and mostly silencing his social-media accounts.
On Wednesday, he wrote that he experienced “acute back pain” while he was in Arizona in April as part of his pre-campaign book tour, and it required him to stop traveling.
He subsequently had three back surgeries, he said.
“Today, I am feeling much better and my doctors foresee a full recovery so long as I rest and rehabilitate,” Schultz wrote. “I have decided to take the summer to do just that.”
“I take this detour from the road reluctantly,” he wrote. “My concern for our country’s future remains, as does my belief that the American people deserve so much more from our elected officials.”
Asked if Schultz was laying off staff, a Schultz aide said “he is realigning a team as he moves into the next phase of an exploration.”
Schultz has described himself as a “lifelong Democrat” and said he wants to see President Donald Trump “removed from office” but that today’s Democratic Party has moved too far to the left.
He was exploring a campaign as a “centrist independent,” and opposed specific Democratic proposals for “Medicare for All,” free public college and higher taxes on the wealthy.
But he offered few policy prescriptions or specifics of his own during his nationwide tour. He’s called for both “comprehensive tax reform” and comprehensive immigration reform, but offered few details on either.
A Schultz event in Seattle in January drew protesters who urged him to “pick a party,” concerned that an independent bid could help Trump’s reelection.