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President Donald Trump on Monday ripped former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, saying the business titan "doesn't have the 'guts' to run for President!"
"Watched him on last night and I agree with him that he is not the 'smartest person,' " Trump wrote. "Besides, America already has that! I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!"
In an interview that aired Sunday night on the CBS show, Schultz said he was considering mounting an independent bid for president. The businessman, a Democrat, blasted his party and the GOP for what he called a "reckless failure" of constitutional responsibility. And he targeted the president's social media habits.
"I think, like most people, I've become bored with President Trump and his tweets," Schultz told CBS.
Responding to a question about his business experience, he said that he had "a long history of recognizing, I'm not the smartest person in the room."
"In order to make great decisions about complex problems, I have to recruit and attract people who are smarter than me and more experienced, more skilled, and we've got to create an understanding that we need a creative debate in the room to make these kind of decisions," Schultz said.
The president's taunt comes as Democrats warn that Schultz's entrance into the race could be a boon for Trump's electoral chances by siphoning a greater share of Democratic votes than Republican ones.
Trump remains overwhelmingly popular among Republicans, according to polling data, and Schultz has proposed an agenda largely in line with moderate Democrats. He is at odds with many of the candidates currently in the race or expected to enter on issues like Medicare for all. Schultz has criticized Democratic proposals as unrealistic.
"Has ever heard the old saying, 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions?' " tweeted Larry Sabato, a top political analyst and the director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "Someone should explain it to him. His slogan might as well be, 'Re-elect Trump'."
Some Democratic contenders have also weighed in on Schultz's potential run, urging him against running.
"It's obvious. If we nominate someone w/ extreme positions that don't reflect the majority of Americans, then people like Schultz will run b/c they see an opportunity in the center with moderates," wrote John Delaney, one Democratic contender and a former U.S. congressman for Maryland. "If that happens, Trump wins."
Julian Castro, another 2020 candidate and a former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, told CNN that a Schultz run "would provide Donald Trump with his best hope of getting re-elected."
The Washington State Democratic Party has also been sharply critical of a Schultz run. Last week, the chair of the state party, Tina Podlodowski, sent a fundraising email to donors calling a Schultz run a "worst-case scenario," according to a report in The Atlantic.
"I want to spend our resources fighting for Democrats up and down the ballot, not fending off Howard Schultz's independent bid," she wrote.
Schultz, the former CEO of Seattle-based Starbucks, addressed criticism that he could swing the vote to Trump, telling "60 Minutes" he wanted to "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," he said. "Because I am not, in any way, in bed with a party."