The morning after former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was shouted down by a protester at a Barnes & Noble book event—“Don’t help elect Trump! You egotistical billionaire asshole”—he came back for more pummeling on The View.
Schultz, who is promoting both his new memoir From the Ground Up and his deeply controversial bid to run for president in 2020 as an independent, was all smiles when he sat down behind the table for his interview. But it slowly started to fade as he realized how worried the hosts were about his potential to be a presidential spoiler.
The lifelong Democrat said, “I think I would have to be disingenuous to run as a Democrat today, but I think the question that I'm asking myself and I think many of us are asking ourselves is what kind of country do we want to live in? And right now, I think it’s clear that the country we are living in needs significant change, not only change because of this president, but change because of the toxicity and the lack of compromise of both parties.”
And while he accepts that President Trump was “responsible for closing the government,” he blames both Democrats and Republicans in Congress for the harm that came to the 800,000 furloughed federal workers.
Schultz also attacked Sen. Kamala Harris for saying we should “abolish the insurance industry” in favor of Medicare for All during her CNN town hall the night before.
Co-host Joy Behar spent a couple of minutes praising Schultz as a “great guy” who went “above and beyond” to make sure even his part-time Starbucks employees were insured before adding a “big but.”
“The main thing that scares me,” she said, “is that your entry into the race will guarantee Trump another four years and we cannot have that.”
Putting his hand on her shoulder, Schultz said, “Joy, I don’t agree with you,” arguing that Trump is more likely to win if he “runs against a far-left progressive liberal Democrat.” Like he did during his interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, Schultz explained that it is policies like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed 70 percent marginal tax rate on people making more than $10 million per year that spurred him to run.
Throughout the interview, Schultz continued to get hit from all sides of The View table.
On one end of the spectrum, Whoopi Goldberg also pushed back against Schultz’s independent quest, telling him, “I think if you believe in what you believe in, then stand up for that as a Democrat and then change the party if you feel like that as opposed to going elsewhere.”
On the other, Meghan McCain called Schultz a “glaring example that, as long as you’re a billionaire, you can run for anything,” adding: “My problem with politics right now is the influence of money and no shade to you but you do have to be a billionaire to run as an independent.” He also “lost” her for good when he revealed his pro-choice stance.
“You can’t buy the presidency,” Schultz insisted as the crowd began to jeer. “The American people will decide.”
Later, when Schultz responded to Trump’s recent tweet urging him to get into the race by saying, “No one wants to see him fired more than me,” Behar shot back, “No one wants to see you run more than him,” before comparing the candidate to Ralph Nader. “And Ross Perot,” McCain chimed in.
“If you can live with the hypothetical situation that you get Trump re-elected, that's fine, but no one seems terribly convinced this is a possible, foreseeable path,” McCain added.
“Well, you're putting words in my mouth,” Schultz replied. “I won't live with President Trump being re-elected because that's not going to happen. And I'm going to do everything I can for that…” He trailed off before finishing that thought as the audience cheered.
It’s a rare thing to get Behar and McCain on the same page, but they seem to agree on this: If Howard Schultz runs as a independent, four more years of Trump is all but guaranteed.