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Howard Schultz’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

From hecklers to "not American" proposals, former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz had a rough week after floating an independent presidential bid. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

It all started with a tweet.

“It feels good to be here,” former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz tweeted Sunday, hours before he told “60 Minutes” he was considering an independent bid for the White House. “My hope is to share my truth, listen to yours, build trust and focus on things that can make us better.”

It was the first of 12 tweets over five days (13 counting this since-deleted tweet). Each was ratioed, meaning the tweets received an outsize number of replies compared with retweets or likes, often indicating a negative response to the tweets.

On Monday, Schultz was heckled as he kicked off a nationwide book tour. On Tuesday, he elicited audience groans after suggesting his wealth would not benefit his potential presidential run. Earlier that day, he called a proposal to do away with private health insurers “not American.” The next day, he said: “It’s not that it’s not American. It’s unaffordable.” By Wednesday afternoon, audiences were warning him about becoming the next Ralph Nader.

Amid this, Schultz struggled to guess the price of cereal, had his logo compared to a fictional HBO character and said Ronald Reagan never took off his jacket in the Oval Office (he did), all while commenters on his MasterClass ads begged him not to run.

Twitter is a poor medium for judging a presidential candidate’s viability, but the swift pushback to Schultz was notable, especially for someone who claims to be months away from a decision.

A Schultz adviser told CNN that the attacks helped “burnish” his outsider image, and Schultz himself seems to have taken the vitriol in stride.

“I must be doing something right to garner this much attention and this much interest,” Schultz said Tuesday. “The country and the American people are longing for and deserve leadership that it can trust and a government that is working for them. That clearly has not been the case.”