We’re still 18 months out from the presidential election, and yet the campaign process already includes distant memories like Howard Schultz’s 2019 winter media blitz. In January and February, the billionaire and former Starbucks CEO aggressively toured the TV-news talk circuit, where he was barraged with questions about why he should pursue an independent run if it would pull business-minded centrists away from the Democratic nominee.
But as of early May, the Schultz pre-campaign has gone dark. Aides who spoke to the Daily Beast say that Schultz has not given up on his presidential ambitions, but Schultz hasn’t appeared in public since a visit to Arizona to discuss border security in late April. Recently scheduled events in Utah, San Francisco, and Dallas were canceled, and Schultz has cut down on his social-media presence.
Since Easter, Schultz has tweeted only twice — once to respond with a winky emoji to the apparent Starbucks cup in a Game of Thrones episode. And he hasn’t posted to Facebook or Instagram since April 30, when he posted a picture of a chessboard, a French press, and a notebook with the phrase “Success is best when it’s shared” written in marker.
One might hope that Schultz has cooled on his pursuit of the presidency, because he realized that his understanding of policy is vague and unappealing, or because his own polling found that his candidacy would result in the reelection of President Trump. But sympathy rather than Schadenfreude may be the more appropriate feeling — as Schultz spokesperson Erin McPike told the Daily Beast, he has been quiet recently because he is “taking a break while he is recovering from back surgery.”