Howard Schultz, the former chairman and CEO of Starbucks, took steps towards declaring a centrist, independent presidential run on Sunday. In a CBS News interview, Schultz said that he’s “seriously considering” running in 2020.
“We’re living at a most fragile time,” Schultz said on 60 Minutes. “Not only the fact that this President is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged every single day in revenge politics.”
Schultz, who has been a Democrat for most of his public life but has never run for office before, stepped down from his second stint as Starbucks’ chairman and CEO last year. He is expected to run on his business acumen and a plan to bring Americans back together, although his potential candidacy is already worrying Democrats that he could split the vote in the general election.
But another part of Schultz’s business career is expected to also draw scrutiny in a potential presidential run — his former ownership of the Seattle Supersonics.
Schultz owned the now-defunct NBA franchise starting in 2001, until he sold them in 2006 to a group of businessmen from Oklahoma City, who ultimately moved the team to that city and changed their name to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Seattle has not yet gotten a new NBA team, and now Schultz is apologizing for his role in the team’s departure.
In his new book, From the Ground UP: a Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America, Schultz addresses the end of the Sonics, per the Seattle Times.
In the book, Schultz calls the departure of the Sonics “one of the biggest regrets of my professional life,” and explains that “almost everyone blamed me, and after some initial denial, I realized they were right to do so. I had squandered the very public trust that I had bought into.” He also details the fights he had with local politicians when funding for a new arena.
Howard Schultz is also belatedly apologizing to Seattle sports fans for his role in sending the Sonics to Oklahoma City. https://t.co/xYyY1XVp54
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) January 28, 2019
Sonics fans and other NBA observers had some not-so-nice things to say about the news that Schultz was running for president.
“Howard Schultz, a man who cannot be trusted with the fate of the Seattle Sonics cannot be trusted with the fate of the American people,” journalist Parker Molloy wrote.
Others did as well :
Sonics fans have a special hatred for Howard Schultz pic.twitter.com/3BFrowZ1nU
— ░░░░░░ (@VIC_20) January 28, 2019
The “owner of the Seattle Super-sonic-ahs” who is mentioned as celebrating Hanukkah in Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song” was not Schultz, but rather Barry Ackerley, who owned the Sonics in the 1990s, prior to Schultz.