Jay Inslee says it would be "inexcusable" if Howard Schultz helped Trump get reelected

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez

/ CBS News

Howard Schultz weighs presidential run

Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who's mulling a presidential bid, urged former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to seek the Democratic Party's nomination if he decides to run for president and drop the idea of an independent candidacy, which he and other Democrats fear could help President Trump win reelection in 2020.

"No one in America should give Donald Trump a helping hand to become reelected as president of the United States," Inslee told CBS News. "The devastation that that man could cause is profound and well-known."

"Do not help Donald Trump. That's inexcusable," he added.

Schultz told "60 Minutes" on Sunday that he was "seriously thinking" about launching an independent bid for the White House. The coffee mogul, who describes himself as a "lifelong Democrat," said he favors an independent run because he thinks that both major parties have embraced fringe elements and failed to address the country's growing debt.

Democrats angrily rebuked Schultz for considering a move that they think might siphon crucial votes from the eventual Democratic nominee and thereby help Mr. Trump secure a second term. Inslee advised the former Starbucks executive to "come into the pool and compete as a Democrat" if he has a "burning desire" to be commander-in-chief.

He added that Schultz's legacy as an entrepreneur could be severely tainted if he goes through with his independent campaign and "drains off votes from a Democrat" in the 2020 election.

"So we're hopeful that Mr. Schultz listens to this chorus across the nation and has a legacy that is a good one for his business leadership," Inslee said, adding later, "Don't have a legacy of reelecting Donald Trump. That'd be a sad result."

Inslee said he's "seriously considering" running for president, too. To highlight his credentials, the popular two-term Washington governor touted the growing economy in his deep-blue state, his role in the passage of a net neutrality bill and what he called "the best paid family leave and one of the best minimum wages" in the country.

If he does launch a bid, Inslee will make climate change an integral part of his platform. "I do believe that we need the Democratic Party to nominate a candidate who will make climate change a primary effort on how we grow our economy," he said.

Jamie Yuccas and Becky Van Dercook contributed to this report.

First published on January 30, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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