Get Melania Trump on the horn: Someone’s been bullying Howard Schultz by calling him a “billionaire.”
In an interview with CNBC last week, the former Starbucks CEO appeared to take personal offense to being described as a “billionaire.” He said that people should use the softer “people of wealth” or “people of means” to describe his class, which accounts for just 1 percent of the world’s population but controls more than half of its money.
“The moniker billionaire now has become the catchphrase,” said Schultz, who’s been a lifelong Democrat but is pondering an independent run for president. “I would rephrase that and I would say that ‘people of means’ have been able to leverage their wealth and their interests in ways that are unfair.”
Schultz has spent the last few weeks on a press tour for his new book, as he mulls a possible third-party candidacy, giving controversial interviews about embattled billionaires and all the mean, “un-American” progressives making fun of them. He singled out Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who has pointed to class inequality as one of her hallmark issues, as an example of what’s wrong with the Democratic Party.
“I respect the Democratic Party. I no longer feel affiliated because I don't know their views represent the majority of Americans. I don't think we want a 70 percent income tax in America,” Schultz said late last month, in a mischaracterization of Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal for a marginal tax on income over $10 million. It would affect a small few, including Schultz, who grew up in a lower-income family.
In 2016, Schultz endorsed Wall Street-friendly Hillary Clinton, though he seems far less keen on Elizabeth Warren. Schultz called her ideas for an annual wealth tax on hyper-millionaires “ridiculous.”
Cover: Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, at an event to promote his book, "From the Ground Up," in Seattle. Schultz has faced a rocky reception since he announced earlier in January that he's considering an independent presidential bid. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)