As Schultz eyes 2020, Bloomberg says independent would "end up re-electing" Trump

By Emily Tillett

/ CBS News

Democrats to Howard Schultz: Don't run

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a thinly veiled warning to fellow billionaire Howard Schultz over the former Starbucks CEO's consideration of an independent bid for the presidency. In a statement Monday, Bloomberg said an independent candidate would split the anti-Trump vote and hand the president a second term.

"Given the strong pull of partisanship and the realities of the electoral college system, there is no way an independent can win. That is truer today than ever before," Bloomberg said. "In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the President. That's a risk I refused to run in 2016 and we can't afford to run it now."

Schultz told "60 Minutes" Sunday he is "seriously thinking" about launching an independent bid, sparking fears by Democrats that he could peel away voters who would otherwise vote for the Democratic candidate.

Bloomberg ran for his third mayoral term as an independent after winning his first two terms as a Republican. In 2016 he decided against an independent run for the presidency and had flirted with the idea before.

"It's no secret that I looked at an independent bid in the past. In fact I faced exactly the same decision now facing others who are considering it," Bloomberg said Monday, declining to reference Schultz by name.

Bloomberg re-registered as a Democrat just before the 2018 midterm elections, saying the Democratic Party needed to step up and act as a "bulwark" against "those who threaten our Constitution." He pledged more than $100 million to help Democratic candidates flip the Republican-held majority in the House. The former mayor is also said to be considering a potential run for the Democratic nomination.

Asked Sunday if his run would all but ensure a second term for Mr. Trump, Schultz told "60 Minutes" that he wants to the see "the American people win."

"I don't care if you're a Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Republican. Bring me your ideas. And I will be an independent person, who will embrace those ideas. Because I am not, in any way, in bed with a party," said Schultz.

First published on January 28, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Emily Tillett

Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital

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