Former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said Wednesday that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) once asked him for a campaign contribution and that he turned her down because her policies would lead the country toward “socialism.”
Schultz, who is now eyeing an independent bid for president, made his claim during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” It was his latest attempt to portray Democratic presidential contenders as outside the mainstream.
“She came to see me a few years ago and asked for a contribution for her Senate race,” Schultz said of Warren, who last month announced a presidential exploratory committee.
Asked whether he gave her the money, Schultz said, “I did not.”
Asked why not, Schultz said he does not believe in “what she stands for.”
“I don’t believe the country should be heading to socialism,” Schultz said.
Asked if he considers Warren a socialist, Schultz demurred.
“I think she believes in programs that will lead to a level of socialism in America,” he said. “She’s a smart woman. I respect her. This isn’t personal. I just don’t agree with her.”
A spokeswoman for Warren’s exploratory committee did not immediately respond.
Schultz tangled with Warren on Tuesday as well.
During an interview on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” Schultz, a billionaire, said Warren’s plan for a special 2 percent annual tax on Americans whose net worth exceeds $50 million is “ridiculous.”
He accused Warren of crafting the idea to get a “good headline,” adding, “She knows for a fact it’s not ever going to be passed.”
Warren fired back at Schultz on Twitter.
“What’s ‘ridiculous’ is billionaires who think they can buy the presidency to keep the system rigged for themselves while opportunity slips away for everyone else,” she wrote. “The top 0.1%, who’d pay my #UltraMillionaireTax, own about the same wealth as 90% of America. It’s time for change.”
In other media interviews earlier this week, Schultz also took aim at Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), who has launched a presidential bid, saying the single-payer health-care plan she is advocating is “extreme” and “not American.”