Billionaire Howard Schultz hired Democratic consultant Bill Burton and former Obama-era official to help shape his potential White House in 2020, CBS reported Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Burton helped run former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. Schultz also hired former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who left the GOP in 2018, telling his Twitter followers in June of that year that his party was taken over by President Donald Trump.
The former Starbucks CEO told CBS News’ Scott Pelley Sunday on “60 Minutes” that he’s “seriously thinking of running for president.” He also said, “I will run as a centrist independent, outside of the two-party system.”
Schultz, a lifelong Democrat, also said the party simply had gone too far to the left and that he doesn’t believe an independent candidate will tilt the election to the Trump. Some Democrats believe he could cost the party an important election. (RELATED: Former Starbucks CEO Explains Why He Might Run As An Independent)
“I have a concern that if he did run, that essentially, it would provide [President] Donald Trump with his best hope of getting re-elected,” Julian Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development secretary under the Obama administration, told reporters. “I would suggest to Mr. Schultz to truly think about the negative impact that that might make.”
Burton suggested during the heat of the 2016 presidential election that anyone running as an independent risked electing Trump.
“And in the same way I would bet that Ralph Nader – or at least many of his supporters – wishes that he didn’t help to make George W. Bush our 43rd commander-in-chief, I suppose Stein supporters would not want to be in the position of explaining to their kids how they helped make Trump president,” he wrote in an editorial that year.
Burton was referring to then-Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.
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