Schultz won't say if he will sell all Starbucks shares if he becomes president

Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO who is mulling an independent presidential bid, declined to promise to sell all of his Starbucks shares if he is elected in 2020.

“I think we’re getting way premature,” he said Tuesday when asked the question at a CNN town hall.

“I think the best way to say that is that I will do nothing whatsoever to have any conflict of interest between my investments overall, or my interest in the company that I love, because I will put the role and responsibility and the accountability for results first if I run for president and I’m fortunate enough to win, and that is a promise I make to the American people.” 

Schultz said he was not “evading the question,” suggesting he could possibly put his shares in a blind trust should he enter the White House.

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Scrutiny over politicians’ business ties skyrocketed after President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE refused to put ties to his personal business in a blind trust, opting to simply put his adult sons Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpHillicon Valley: Cyber, tech takeaways from Mueller report | Millions of Instagram passwords exposed internally by Facebook | DHS unrolling facial recognition tech in airports | Uber unveils new safety measures after student's killing Heavily redacted Mueller report leaves major questions unanswered Mueller considered charging campaign aides in Trump Tower meeting but lacked evidence MORE and Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpLara Trump to 'Fox & Friends': Trump 'one of the greatest presidents we've ever had' Eric and Lara Trump expecting their second child Trump golf course paid late California taxes following newspaper's inquiry: report MORE in charge of the Trump Organization.

That decision has sparked a litany of lawsuits claiming President Trump was violating the emoluments clause, which prohibits the president from personally profiting from the office of president. 

In an attempt to contrast himself from Trump, Schultz also vowed to release his tax returns if he decides to run for president and repeatedly hit the president over his policies and character.

However, Schultz ignited controversy among Democrats who fear that his candidacy could divide the anti-Trump vote and hand Trump a second term in the White House.