Howard Schultz tells "60 Minutes" he's "seriously thinking" about independent run for president

By Grace Segers, Camilo Montoya-Galvez

/ CBS News

Howard Schultz considering independent run for president

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says he's considering running for president as an independent, telling "60 Minutes" he might jump into the race without party backing.

"I am seriously thinking of running for president," Schultz told correspondent Scott Pelley in an interview airing Sunday. "I will run as a centrist independent, outside of the two-party system. We're living at a most fragile time, not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what's necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics."

Schultz, who describes himself as a "lifelong Democrat," said his potential decision to launch an independent bid for the White House, rather than seek the Democratic Party's nomination, is rooted in his belief that both major parties have embraced fringe elements and failed to address the country's growing debt.

"I look at both parties. We see extremes on both sides. Well, we are sitting today with approximately $21.5 trillion of debt, which is a reckless example, not only of Republicans, but of Democrats, as well, as a reckless failure of their constitutional responsibility," he said.

Asked whether he believed an independent campaign would siphon crucial votes from the Democratic nominee and thereby help Mr. Trump win reelection, Schultz demurred and said his campaign, if launched, would attract a diverse group of voters.

"I want to see the American people win. I want to see America win. I don't care if you're a Democrat, independent, libertarian, Republican," he said. "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."

Schultz vowed to release his tax returns if he does launch a bid. The Starbucks mogul, who stepped back from his role at the coffee giant beginning in 2016, is worth around $3.3 billion.

During the interview, Schultz sharply criticized the president's first term in office, including the decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. He said he believes Mr. Trump is not qualified to occupy the Oval Office.

"Not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what's necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics," Schultz said, calling this a "fragile time" in America.

Schultz is one of several billionaires considering running for president. Michael Bloomberg, who may seek the Democratic nomination, is also mulling a presidential bid.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says Donald Trump is not qualified to be president

First published on January 27, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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