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

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

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 TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' MORE," Inslee added.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 HarrisDemocrats asked to create ideal candidate to beat Trump pick white man: poll Democrats asked to create ideal candidate to beat Trump pick white man: poll Biden defends remarks about segregationist senators: 'Apologize for what?' MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders denies tweet about corporate Democrats was dig at Warren Sanders denies tweet about corporate Democrats was dig at Warren Warren: 'On Juneteenth and every day: Black lives matter' MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record 'We fight on': 2020 Democrats mark Juneteenth MORE (D-N.Y.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Biden defends remarks about segregationist senators: 'Apologize for what?' MORE (D-N.J.).

The field is expected to grow larger and more progressive heavyweights, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden invokes Ted Kennedy in defending remarks about working with segregationists Biden invokes Ted Kennedy in defending remarks about working with segregationists Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders denies tweet about corporate Democrats was dig at Warren Sanders denies tweet about corporate Democrats was dig at Warren Democrats asked to create ideal candidate to beat Trump pick white man: poll MORE (I-Vt.), are said to be mulling White House bids.