Inslee: 'Enormous mistake' for Schultz to make 2020 bid as independent

Inslee: 'Enormous mistake' for Schultz to make 2020 bid as independent
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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Monday said he has discouraged former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz from launching an independent presidential bid in 2020.

"I feel it would be an enormous mistake by Howard," Inslee, who is mulling a 2020 bid himself, said in an appearance on CNN's "New Day."

"He has had a successful legacy as a businessperson, and it would be tarnished beyond imagination if he does the only thing that his candidacy would do would be to help the reelection of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE," Inslee added.

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The governor pushed back against the suggestion that Schultz might not hurt a Democratic candidate, and could pull votes from Trump given his more conservative views on abortion, "Medicare for all" and government spending. 

"Virtually every Democrat alive who can count votes” believes Schultz's candidacy would help Trump, the governor said.

"This would be a disastrous event," he added. "I have strongly suggested to Howard to keep your legacy intact as a businessperson who’s done some decent things, and not engage in this ruinous project which only has one potential outcome."

Schultz, who served as Starbucks's CEO from 1986-2000 and again from 2008-2017, said late last month that he's "seriously thinking of running for president" as a "centrist independent."

Schultz told The New York Times he will make his final decision on a campaign after a three-month book tour. His announcement has drawn criticism from Democrats who have voiced concerns that he would pull votes away from the party's nominee in 2020 and boost Trump's reelection chances.

A number of Democrats have already entered the 2020 race or announced exploratory committees, including Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college Moulton enters 2020 White House race The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump pushes back on impeachment talk: 'Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!' Warren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college Moulton enters 2020 White House race MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandWarren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college Cory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris Booker to supporter who wanted him to punch Trump: 'Black guys like us, we don't get away with that' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? Booker: Barr's suggestion of spying on Trump campaign 'eroded' public's trust MORE (D-N.J.).

The field is expected to grow larger and more progressive heavyweights, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenWarren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college Moulton enters 2020 White House race The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersThe biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone GOP Senate campaign arm hits battleground-state Dems over 'Medicare for All,' Green New Deal Warren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college MORE (I-Vt.), are said to be mulling White House bids.