Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said on Monday the rhetoric by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and her team against billionaires was "un-American."
"It's so un-American to think that way," Schultz said, after being read those quotes by interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin at a New York Barnes & Noble.
Schultz said he was "living proof of the American dream" as a self-made billionaire, who had taken advantage of opportunities the country had afforded him.
"I think there is a problem that she has identified, but I think the way she's going about it—unfortunately, she's a bit misinformed. The problem is we have significant inequality in the country," he said, laying out issues like one in six Americans being food insecure.
"She's identified issues that have to be fixed, but not to do it in a way that's punitive to people who have succeeded because of the foundation and the gift and the promise of the country," he said.
Schultz touted his opposition to President Donald Trump's tax overhaul that included a dramatic slashing of the corporate rate.
Schultz, a Democrat, is considering running for president in 2020 as a "centrist independent." His announcement on Sunday infuriated liberals who are eager to oust Trump; they fear Schultz could pull away votes from the Democratic nominee and hand the election to Trump if he does indeed run.
A heckler at his event Monday night with Sorkin called him an "a—hole" and an egotist who was going to help Trump win again.
His attack on Ocasio-Cortez, a rising star in the Democratic Party and the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, may not endear him to progressives who already range from skeptical to angry about his presidential ambitions.