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Michael Bloomberg Warns Howard Schultz That Independent Bid Would Help Re-Elect Trump

Michael Bloomberg and Howard Schultz
REX/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — Michael Bloomberg is warning former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and any other figure considering an independent presidential run that they would “end up re-electing” Donald Trump.

Bloomberg released a statement on Monday claiming that such an independent candidacy — which Schultz said on “60 Minutes” that he is considering — would split the anti-Trump vote. His comments echo those of a number of prominent Democrats who are wary of a Schultz candidacy, particularly one in which he would be able to spend his own considerable fortune to establish name recognition and get his message out.

“In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the President,” Bloomberg said. “That’s a risk I refused to run in 2016 and we can’t afford to run it now.”

“We must remain united, and we must not allow any candidate to divide or fracture us. The stakes couldn’t be higher,” he added.

Bloomberg is considering entering the 2020 race, but as a Democrat seeking the party nomination. In 2008 and 2016, he weighed an independent presidential run, but ultimately decided against it.

“Now I have never been a partisan guy — and it’s no secret that I looked at an independent bid in the past. In fact I faced exactly the same decision now facing others who are considering it,” Bloomberg said.

“The data was very clear and very consistent. Given the strong pull of partisanship and the realities of the electoral college system, there is no way an independent can win. That is truer today than ever before.”

Schultz is on tour for his book “From the Ground Up.” He’s scheduled to guest on “The View” on Tuesday, and co-host Joy Behar said she planned to ask him about the potential of splitting the anti-Trump vote by bringing up Ralph Nader. Nader ran as a Green Party candidate in 2000, but faced a backlash for garnering votes that may have otherwise gone to Al Gore.

Asked about the prospect of splitting the vote next year, Schultz said on “60 Minutes” that he wants “to see the American people win. I want to see America win.” He added that he would be open to fresh ideas because he was “not in bed with any political party.”

Some industry figures are urging Schultz to stay out of the race. Rob Reiner tweeted, “Nader gave US Bush in 2000. Gore won by over 500K. Would’ve had 15-20 yr. jump on global warming & no 1mil. killed in Iraq. Stein helped give US Trump. Hillary had 3 mil. more votes. Now Schultz wants to give the incompetent criminal moron a 2nd term. Curb your ego! Don’t run!”

Screenwriter Ed Solomon wrote, “The genius of Starbucks: find a legal addiction and sell the fix back to people. And Howard Schultz is doing it again, but this time the addiction is to the unquenchable fixation on billionaire narcissists and all the stupid things they say and do.”

Andy Spahn, political and philanthropic consultant to Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and others, wrote, “The hubris of $. As if Howard Schultz really has something new to offer. Sad.”

Trump himself seemed to be daring Schultz to run.

He wrote on Monday morning, “Howard Schultz doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to run for President! Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the ‘smartest person.’ Besides, America already has that! I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!”