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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 TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food 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 HarrisTrump sued by Democrat over mob attack on Capitol Harris speaks with Netanyahu amid ICC probe Senate votes to take up COVID-19 relief bill MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate rejects Sanders minimum wage hike Philly city council calls on Biden to 'cancel all student loan debt' in first 100 days Hillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandABC names new deputy political director, weekend White House correspondent The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate Dems face unity test; Tanden nomination falls MORE (D-N.Y.) and Cory BookerCory BookerIt's in America's best interest to lead global COVID-19 vaccine distribution ABC names new deputy political director, weekend White House correspondent NJ lawmakers ask Gannett to stop 'union-busting' efforts at 3 state newspapers MORE (D-N.J.).

The field is expected to grow larger and more progressive heavyweights, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Ex-Trump appointee arrested in Capitol riot complains he won't be able to sleep in jail Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersMcConnell makes failed bid to adjourn Senate after hours-long delay Senate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Democrats break COVID-19 impasse with deal on jobless benefits MORE (I-Vt.), are said to be mulling White House bids.