Starbucks' Schultz Calls Out Trump and Polarizing Politics

(Bloomberg) -- Howard Schultz sounds a lot like a guy running for office.

The outgoing Starbucks Corp. Chairman -- who has thrust the coffee chain into thorny social issues in recent years and took thinly veiled jabs at Donald Trump during the 2016 election season -- laid out a centrist vision for the U.S. during a television appearance on Tuesday, adding to speculation that he’ll mount a run for the White House in 2020.

The Trump administration’s tax cut was “reckless” in the context of rising national debt, he said on CNBC, while also knocking the “vitriolic behavior” from the White House. Schultz raised concerns about the brewing trade battle with China and called for a ideology-free approach to tackling the issues facing the U.S.

“We need to do things that restore the promise of the country and our standing around the world,” Schultz said in an interview on CNBC. “We have to move the ideology out and do what’s best for the American people.”

Schultz, 64, announced late Monday that he’d be stepping down from Starbucks later this month, fueling speculation that he’s mulling a political career. In the memo announcing his exit, Schultz said that he is “thinking about a range of options for myself, from philanthropy to public service, but I’m a long way from knowing what the future holds.”

Schultz, who declined to be “nailed down” on a potential run for office, said the partisan unrest dividing the country is a serious threat. While criticizing the Trump administration, and the divisiveness that has infused U.S. politics, Schultz also lamented that “some Democrats” had moved too far to the left. He said that tough problems like immigration reform, gun control and spending on programs like Medicare and Medicaid need to be fixed with a centrist focus on domestic issues.

“It’s not about trade wars with China, it’s not about building a wall, it’s about getting our house in order,” he said.

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