"Grande ego. Venti mistake": That was the message protesters had for former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz as he returned to his hometown of Seattle on Thursday after announcing that he's mulling an independent run for president. Several dozen protesters gathered outside a downtown theater before Schultz appeared to promote his new book, From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America. They included Democrats who fret his candidacy would hand President Trump another term and basketball fans who haven't forgiven him for selling the Seattle SuperSonics to a group that moved the team to Oklahoma City more than a decade ago, the AP reports.
Inside, though, the billionaire got a warmer reception, with hearty applause from a crowd of 1,100, especially when he apologized about the Sonics. He said he doesn't intend to decide whether to run for president for several months, but the reaction from prominent Democrats has been swift, with critics saying an independent bid would likely split the opposition to Trump, making his re-election more likely. The protesters outside his talk Thursday chanted: "Pick a party." Schultz promised the crowd, "I will do nothing on any level to proceed if I thought I would in any way persuade Americans to vote and re-elect Donald Trump." (Trump says Schultz "doesn't have the guts" to run in 2020.)