The possible presidential campaign of billionaire businessman Howard Schultz got off to a rocky start on Monday night, when he was repeatedly heckled by New Yorkers at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, the first stop of his nationwide book tour.
"Don't help elect Trump, you egotistical billionaire asshole!” the heckler reportedly shouted. "Go back to getting ratioed on Twitter. Go back to Davos with the other billionaire elite who think they know how to run the world! This isn't what Democracy needs right now!"
That person was escorted out of the book store, which is proving to be fertile ground for Trump era protesting. A second heckler followed shortly after, chanting "health care is a human a right!" until they were asked to leave as well.
— CNN (@CNN) January 29, 2019
The former Starbucks CEO, who announced during a 60 Minutes interview this weekend that he was "seriously" considering running as a "centrist independent," was speaking with Times financial columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin at the time of the interruptions. "I'm not running a primary race on Twitter," Schultz joked.
Not that he seems particularly interested in disputing the protesters' points. Schultz, a self-avowed fiscal conservative who decries the "extremes on both sides," does align ideologically with the Davos crowd. He has been getting ratio-ed to hell since joining Twitter this past weekend. He considers universal health care to be a "burden" on the country, which would only serve to increase the debt—something he says as the "number one domestic threat" to the United States.
As for whether or not his possible independent run could position him as a spoiler candidate, helping President Trump to win another term, Schultz cited the "silent majority of Americans" who might vote for him. Earlier in the day, Michael Bloomberg disavowed his own proposed independent bid, noting that "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."
Asked Monday night by Sorkin whether he'd drop out if polls showed his candidacy helping Donald Trump, Schultz said that he would "have the conviction and the courage" to believe he could win, but that he "can't answer that question today."