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 TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? 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 HarrisGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Gabbard, Steyer inch toward making third Democratic debate MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Keystone XL Pipeline gets nod from Nebraska Supreme Court MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Gabbard, Steyer inch toward making third Democratic debate Gillibrand unveils mental health plan MORE (D-N.Y.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Gabbard, Steyer inch toward making third Democratic debate MORE (D-N.J.).

The field is expected to grow larger and more progressive heavyweights, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Moulton says Biden would make 'fantastic president' MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Keystone XL Pipeline gets nod from Nebraska Supreme Court MORE (I-Vt.), are said to be mulling White House bids.