Howard Schultz's announcement that he might run for president as a "centrist independent" in 2020 has been met with widespread disgust and anger by Democrats and media allies.
The former Starbucks CEO is an ex-Democrat who left the party over its lurch to the left, and Democrats are frothing at the mouth that the billionaire could split the anti-Trump vote in 2020 and send the 45th president back to the White House.
Anyone watching cable or network news could see the talking points were in: If Schultz runs, Trump wins.
Democrats like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), Rep. Katie Hill (D., Calif.) and Julian Castro said his efforts would catapult Trump back into the White House, while CNN "conservative" commentator Ana Navarro said his running would help Trump and "maybe Putin."
"Majority Report" host Sam Seder said Schultz didn't "get to be king just because he's so rich," and liberal MSNBC analyst Karine Jean-Pierre said his actions were "very dangerous" and "we cannot allow this to happen." Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden tweeted she would boycott Starbucks and called Schultz's "vanity project" a "disgusting" thing that would destroy democracy.
Left-wing comedian Stephen Colbert said he'd had enough of billionaires running for president, telling them to find "new hobbies," and "The View" co-host Joy Behar said Schultz's decision would hand Trump reelection. "Community" actress Yvette Nicole Brown told Colbert that Schultz clearly didn't care about the country and said 2020 was not his time to run, telling him to do it in 2024 instead.
"Pod Save America" co-host and former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau called Schultz's potential run a "f—king awful thing to do," and former Obama adviser David Axelrod simply called it a "gift" for Trump.
MSNBC anchors Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle scolded Schultz over the idea by pointing out Michael Bloomberg had already realized an independent run for president was useless. Velshi accused Schultz of "hubris" similar to Trump's.
Those interviewing Schultz and his adviser Bill Burton over the past few days pressed them on the viability of his campaign and his motives—Erin Burnett at one point asked if he was running for the "right reasons."
"Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist pointed out to Schultz "votes are so precious" in the middle, as we learned in the 2016 election, and "Morning Joe" panelist Mike Barnicle wryly told him that plenty of self-described independents tilt right or left. Co-host Mika Brzezinski attempted to gotcha him by asking what a box of Cheerios at the supermarket cost.
CNN's Poppy Harlow wondered why he would run with no party backing or infrastructure—again, Schultz had already said he would run as an independent.