President Trump took a few jabs Monday at former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz, saying he lacks the guts and smarts to be president.
Trump’s assessment, delivered in a morning tweet, followed a segment Sunday night on CBS’s “60 Minutes” in which the billionaire Schultz confirmed that he is preparing to launch an independent 2020 campaign for president.
“Howard Schultz doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to run for President!” Trump wrote. “Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the ‘smartest person.’ Besides, America already has that!”
During the interview, Schultz was asked what a chief executive of a global coffee chain knows about being commander in chief.
“I have a long history of recognizing I’m not the smartest person in the room, that 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.
Trump has repeatedly touted his own smarts both as a candidate and president, famously declaring “I alone can fix it” during his speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
A potential independent bid by Schultz has prompted mounting concerns among Democrats that such a move could help reelect Trump by siphoning off votes from the Democratic Party’s nominee.
In his tweet, Trump also alluded to a Starbucks location in Trump Tower in Manhattan.
“I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!” the president wrote.
The Trump Tower reference was heavily criticized by Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics.
“Nothing like kicking off the week abusing your official position to strong arm an American business for your own financial gain. Disgusting!” Shaub wrote on Twitter. The tweet was later deleted.