Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO who is mulling an independent presidential bid, declined to promise to sell all of his Starbucks shares if he is elected in 2020.
“I think we’re getting way premature,” he said Tuesday when asked the question at a CNN town hall.
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“I think the best way to say that is that I will do nothing whatsoever to have any conflict of interest between my investments overall, or my interest in the company that I love, because I will put the role and responsibility and the accountability for results first if I run for president and I’m fortunate enough to win, and that is a promise I make to the American people.”
Howard Schultz won’t say if he would sell all his shares in Starbucks if he were to become president, calling it “way premature.”
Schultz goes on to insist he would have no conflicts of interest. “I’m not evading the question.” #SchultzTownHall https://t.co/w5PFGD8Pmn pic.twitter.com/y1eDKuMplZ
— CNN (@CNN) February 12, 2019
Schultz said he was not “evading the question,” suggesting he could possibly put his shares in a blind trust should he enter the White House.
Scrutiny over politicians’ business ties skyrocketed after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE refused to put ties to his personal business in a blind trust, opting to simply put his adult sons Donald Trump Jr.Don John TrumpTrump Jr. calls elderly supporter who was assaulted Trump Jr. hits Howard Stern for going ‘establishment,’ ‘acting like Hillary’ Trump Jr., GOP senator lash out at Facebook for taking down protest pages on stay-at-home orders MORE and Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpLara Trump: Twitter no longer ‘a platform for free speech’ Trump DC hotel did not request rent relief from GSA The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Mnuchin, Powell: Economy may need more boost; Trump defends malaria drug MORE in charge of the Trump Organization.
That decision has sparked a litany of lawsuits claiming President Trump was violating the emoluments clause, which prohibits the president from personally profiting from the office of president.
In an attempt to contrast himself from Trump, Schultz also vowed to release his tax returns if he decides to run for president and repeatedly hit the president over his policies and character.
However, Schultz ignited controversy among Democrats who fear that his candidacy could divide the anti-Trump vote and hand Trump a second term in the White House.