The billionaire executive, who retired from Starbucks last year, says that the Democratic Party — with ideas like single-payer health care and free public college — has moved too far to the left.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will speak in downtown Seattle Thursday evening, the third stop in his book tour/proto campaign as he mulls an independent run for president.
Schultz, who has called himself a lifelong Democrat, announced on Sunday that he was exploring a presidential run and drew immediate backlash from Democrats, fearful that a third candidate on the ballot would split the opposition to President Donald Trump and ease his path to re-election.
The billionaire executive, who retired from Starbucks last year, has said that Trump is unqualified to be president but also said that the Democratic Party — with ideas like single-payer health care and free public college — has moved too far to the left.
He says the national debt is the biggest domestic challenge the country faces, but has not offered proposals to reduce it, beyond a generic call for “comprehensive tax reform.”
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Schultz will speak at the Moore Theater at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to promote his new book, “From the Ground Up: a Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America.” Tickets to the event are free, but have all been claimed.
Potential presidential candidates often publish books and launch promotional tours in advance of officially announcing a campaign.
At the first event of Schultz’s tour, on Monday in New York, he was interrupted by hecklers. And a protest was announced soon after his Seattle event was made public.
The progressive group Indivisible is organizing a protest across the street from the Moore ahead of Schultz’s event.
“If he wants to hand Trump another four years on a silver platter,” the group wrote, “his plan for a third-party run should be just the ticket.”
On Wednesday, at an appearance at Arizona State University, Schultz promised, “I am not going to do anything to be a so-called spoiler in all of this.”
One local group calling itself “Ready For Schultz” has expressed support for his presidential bid.
The group anonymously registered a website in November and describes its members as “young professionals and students based in the Seattle area” who have “rallied around the idea of a business leader who has been vocal on social and civic issues… while doing right by their employees and communities.”
A Ready For Schultz organizer on Thursday declined an interview request, writing in a Twitter message “at this time our organization is not willing to identify members of the group.”