Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are calling for a boycott of Starbucks after its CEO, Howard Schultz, endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.
“Hopefully Hillary Clinton will be elected president,” Schultz said on Wednesday during an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow.
“On the other side, we’ve seen such vitriolic display of bigotry and hate and divisiveness, and that is not the leadership we need for the future of the country,” he added.
Schultz also appeared on CBS This Morning, declaring, “I’m engaged as a private citizen recognizing that Hillary Clinton needs to be the next president of the United States.”
After learning about the endorsement, Trump fans took to Twitter to vent their frustration.
Schultz refers to himself as a “lifelong Democrat” and is known to be one of America’s most politically outspoken chief executives. But his liberal advocacy has met with customer resistance on several occasions.
Earlier last year, Schultz received huge blowback after he started the “Race Together” initiative. Starbucks employees were encouraged to write the slogan on coffee cups in the hopes that customers would start a conversation about race relations in America.
The idea was soon scrapped after a negative response from the public. Schultz sent out an email announcing the end of the campaign and acknowledged he “didn’t expect universal praise.”
The Starbucks CEO has acknowledged the criticism he receives for promoting his political agenda.
“I have been criticized because people say, ‘Well his role is to create shareholder value and profits, not to use Starbucks as a political tool,’” Shultz told his employees earlier this year.
But Schultz says he wants to “effect change,” and in order to do that, he believes he can’t stay quiet during this presidential election.
“I worry if we just continue on this track and don’t speak up,” he said. “I’m asking myself what can we do, given our scale … to effect change, to elevate the discourse, and to demonstrate that this is not the way the country should be run.”
During the CNN interview, Schultz hinted that he might take a stab at running for the White House.
“My own life experience has given me a unique perspective on the plight of working-class American people,” he said. “I’m a young man, who has a lot of time in the future. … I would never say never — but this is not the right time.”
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