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Schultz, who drew the ire of the internet after he announced he was considering running for president as a “centrist independent,” made his distaste of the moniker known during a discussion with CNBC last week. It was the same interview where he was heckled by someone who called him an “egotistical billionaire asshole.”
The former coffee giant was asked if “billionaires have too much power in American public life,” and his response was that he’d prefer to not to call wealthy people “billionaires,” but instead “people of means.”
After a pause, he said:
“The moniker ‘billionaire’ now has become the catchphrase. I would rephrase that and say that ‘people of means’ have been able to leverage their wealth and their interest in ways that are unfair, and I think that speaks to the inequality, but it also directly speaks to the special interests that are paid for by ‘people of wealth’ and corporations who are looking for influence,” he said.
“They have such unbelievable influence on the politicians who are steeped in the ideology of both parties … If I should run for president, I am not in bed with any party, I am not in bed with any special interest. All I’m trying to do is one thing: walk in the shoes of the American people.”
The comments from Schultz make some sense—wealthy corporations and individuals do have untoward influence on politicians.
However, his attempt to “rephrase” billionaires was too much for some.
Howard “people of means” Schultz— Bonzo Madrid (@Bonzo_Madrid) February 5, 2019
Laughing so hard at Howard Schultz for thinking he can rebrand billionaires as "people of means" when he can't even get us to call medium drinks "grande."— Adam Best (@adamcbest) February 5, 2019
Howard Schultz feels victimized by the term billionaire and wants us to use the term ‘people of means.’— Alex Morash (@AlexMorash) February 5, 2019
Yup @HowardSchultz, you’re the victim, not those that can’t find work, or those that go without health care, or those without a home.
Then I support increasing taxes on people of means and wealth. https://t.co/IwgR5ivJTr— Jess (@jessicaxan) February 5, 2019
Hey guys, please be nicer to “people of means”, they’ve never gotten a fair shake in this country 🤦♂️ https://t.co/X6n7hfS1oO— J.P. Joyce (@JPJoyce10) February 5, 2019
It seems like Schultz has been putting his foot in his mouth constantly since he announced he was considering a third-party presidential bid.
Get ready for more. Schultz said he will take another “three or four months” before officially deciding whether to throw his hat into the ring, according to Politico.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).