Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is on a roll ruffling Democrats' feathers this week.
In an interview on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday, Schultz blasted California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris' position that the U.S. should eventually get rid of insurance companies, calling her plan "not American." In a separate interview, Schultz said that he could never run for president as a Democrat because of the party's acceptance of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's tax policies.
Schultz announced Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes" that he is considering running as an independent in the 2020 election.
What's the context?
During a town hall event Monday evening in Iowa, Harris, a 2020 presidential hopeful, said that she would like to see the end of private health insurance companies.
"Let's eliminate all of that," she said. "Let's move on."
Ocasio-Cortez has advocated for a marginal tax rate of 70 percent on incomes of more than $10 million. When CBS "60 Minutes" anchor Anderson Cooper described her plan as "radical" in a Jan. 4 interview, Ocasio-Cortez responded, "I think that it only has ever been radicals that have changed this country." She added, "Yeah, if that's what radical means, call me a radical."
What did Schultz say?
On "CBS This Morning," host Norah O'Donnell asked Schultz about comments he had made on "60 Minutes," where he compared the Democratic stance on universal health care to "something as false as the [Trump border] wall."
Schultz answered by pointing to Harris' comments:
Well, you just played Senator Harris as saying she wants to abolish the insurance industry. That's not correct. That's not American. What's next? What industry are we going to abolish next? The coffee industry?
But Schultz was quick to point out that while he disagreed with Democrats, his views on health care did not mesh with the GOP either.
I mean, the Republicans want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. I don't agree with that. The Affordable Care Act should stay, and it should be refined. But to think that we should get rid of the insurance industry. Again, this is exactly the situation. It's far too extremes on both sides, and the silent majority of America does not have a voice, and that's the voice I want to give them."
In a separate interview on CNBC Monday night, Schultz criticized the Democratic Party for seeming to go along with a steep tax rate proposed by Ocasio-Cortez. He cited this as a reason that he no longer considered himself a Democrat.
"I respect the Democratic Party," he said. "I no longer feel affiliated because I don't know their views represent the majority of Americans. I don't think we want a 70 percent income tax in America."
On Monday, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has also considered running for president in the past, warned Schultz not to run as an independent. Bloomberg said that "the data was very clear" that "there is no way an independent can win."