He’s not a declared presidential candidate yet -- but former Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz on Wednesday spelled out how he’d run the country as a centrist president not tied to either major political party.
And in a speech at South Florida’s Miami-Dade College, Schultz lamented the worsening partisan gridlock between Democrats and Republicans in Washington.
"We deserve better than this,” he argued. “The cost of our government’s dysfunction is great - and it impacts all of us. Our biggest problems are not being solved.”
Schultz spotlighted that “this dysfunction cannot stand,” and vowed that as “an independent president, I would be a bridge to bring leaders of both parties together in a way no president has done in recent years.”
He promised that as president he’d “have members of both parties to the White House for coffee as often as I can.”
And he touted that he would “assemble a cabinet that truly represents America in every way, including a cross-partisan group of Democrats, Republicans, and independents—and a greater share of women than any previous president.”
Lamenting that federal courts “have become yet another battlefield in the ongoing war between Democratic and Republican leaders,” he vowed to nominate Supreme Court justices only if they could be confirmed by two-thirds of the Senate.
He also outlined that he would “prioritize reforms that break the logjam of extremism and partisanship that have prevented us from coming together and passing common sense legislation. Among those reforms will be aggressive measures to limit the power of lobbyists and special interests in Washington.”
Schultz is in the middle of a national tour – tied to the release of his new book – as he weighs a long shot independent White House run. He’s said he’ll make a final decision on launching a presidential campaign later this year.
Schultz -- a lifelong Democrat -- has said the reason he’s mulling an independent White House bid is because he feels the Democratic Party has moved too far to the left.
At the recent South by Southwest conference and festival in Austin, Texas, Schultz slammed some of the leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others are proposing to try and defeat Donald Trump with a far extreme proposal,” he spotlighted.
Democrats have repeatedly criticized him, saying an independent bid by a billionaire like Schultz who could self-finance his campaign would siphon votes from the eventual Democratic nominee – which they argue would help Republican President Donald Trump win re-election in 2020.
In his speech, Schultz also took aim at Trump, saying “the damage this presidential administration has already inflicted on our democratic institutions and ideals is severe.”
And Schultz promised that if elected, he wouldn’t berate his cabinet and other top officials.
“I won’t humiliate them on Twitter or make decisions so outrageous that they feel compelled to resign in protest,” he explained, in an indirect slight at the president.