Howard Schultz pauses campaign to recover from back surgery

Howard Schultz pauses campaign to recover from back surgery
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Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is considering running for president as an independent, said Wednesday that he will take the summer off as he recovers from back surgery.

Schultz had been traveling the country to gauge interest among voters in his centrist independent candidacy.

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Political watchers noted that he had been absent from the campaign trail for weeks, raising questions about whether the billionaire had abandoned his presidential hopes. 

In a statement released Wednesday, Schultz said he began experiencing back pain during a campaign stop in Arizona two months ago. The former Starbucks CEO said he has since had three back surgeries.

"Today, I am feeling much better, and my doctors foresee a full recovery so long as I rest and rehabilitate," Schultz said. "I have decided to take the summer to do just that."

"I take this detour from the road reluctantly," he added. "My concern for our country’s future remains, as does my belief that the American people deserve so much more from our elected officials."

Schultz said he would send a new update after Labor Day.

He has warned Democrats against nominating someone too far to the left, saying it will ensure that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE is reelected to a second term.

But Democrats are furious with Schultz for flirting with a presidential run, arguing that his independent bid will draw votes from the Democratic nominee and help get Trump reelected.