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Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz ‘seriously considering’ running for president

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Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced Sunday he is seriously considering a 2020 bid as an independent candidate.

“I love our country, and I am seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent,” he tweeted Sunday evening.

In an interview with The New York Times, Schultz said he’ll be traveling across the country for a book tour during the next three months, during which he will decide whether to formally declare his candidacy.

In a “60 Minutes” interview with correspondent Scott Pelley, Schultz hammered President Donald Trump for his lack of qualifications. But he also took aim at both Democrats and Republicans for sowing division across the country and contributing to what he said was a “fragile time” in America.

“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,” he said.

Rumors of an independent campaign from Schultz have been percolating for weeks, and set Democrats across the country on edge.

“I have two words for Howard Schultz on a potential run for president as an independent: Just. Don’t,” Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski said in a statement, as Business Insider’s Kate Taylor reported.

When asked by Pelley whether he feared his candidacy could “siphon” votes away from Democratic candidates and propel Trump to a second victory, Schultz said his lack of party affiliation would be a “win” for Americans.

“I want to see the American people win. I want to see America win,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re 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.”

Schultz was CEO of Starbucks until he stepped down in April 2017. He later stepped down as chairman in June 2018 and again triggered rumors of a presidential bid. Schultz’s book, “From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America,” is coming out January 28.

Lydia Ramsey contributed reporting.

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