Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz will be closing all Starbucks stores nationwide on Tuesday for racial bias training. The move is a public relations response to the national outrage that surfaced when footage was released of two black men getting arrested inside a Starbucks and charged with loitering.
Schultz believes Donald Trump is partially to blame for the incident. (RELATED: Starbucks Is Shutting Down 8,000 Stores For The Day To Prove They’re Not Racist)
In an interview with CNN this morning, Schultz blamed Trump’s rhetoric for giving people “license” to behave in racist ways.
The CNN anchor asked Schultz if the rhetoric from the White House was “opening the door to increased overt racist behavior,” to which Shultz responded, in part, “I think the totality of the issue is beyond the White House.”
The anchor asked again, “Has President Trump’s rhetoric, personally, on race exacerbated racism in America?”
“On a personal level, it probably has given license to people to feel as if they can emulate and copy the kind of behavior and language that comes out of this administration,” Schultz said. He continued, “The racial divide and the inequities that exist between people of color and Caucasians in America is a problem that has existed for quite some time…”
CNN asked Schultz what the White House could do to “help close the divide.”
Schultz said, “Put humanity in the center of our conversation, whether it’s immigration, whether it’s trade — all of these things have such rhetoric to [them], and the political class is not helping.”
Schultz went on to call himself “the poster child of the American dream.”
Starbucks will be closing 8,000 stores for racial bias training starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Howard Schultz was the CEO of Starbucks. Howard Schultz is the executive chairman of Starbucks.