Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tore into former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Tuesday after he mocked her plan to raise taxes on the very wealthy as nothing more than a “ridiculous” publicity stunt.
Schultz, who’s thinking about running for president as an independent in 2020, slammed Warren’s proposal to impose a 2 percent wealth tax on net worth above $50 million and a 3 percent tax on net worth above $1 billion during an interview on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”
“When I see Elizabeth Warren come out with a ridiculous plan of taxing wealthy people a surtax of 2 percent because it makes a good headline or sends out a tweet, when she knows for a fact that’s not something that’s ever gonna be passed ― this is what’s wrong,” Schultz said. “You can’t just attack these things in a punitive way by punishing people.”
Warren, who launched an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid last month, fired back at the billionaire coffee kingpin later that morning.
“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,” Warren wrote on Twitter. “The top 0.1%, who’d pay my #UltraMillionaireTax, own about the same wealth as 90% of America. It’s time for change.”
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. The top 0.1%, who'd pay my #UltraMillionaireTax, own about the same wealth as 90% of America. It's time for change. https://t.co/D04G5fNvpa
Schultz announced that he is “seriously considering” a presidential run on Sunday, drawing outrage from Democrats who worry an independent candidate would help President Donald Trump win a second term. A viable independent candidate could attract Democrats and Republicans alienated by Trump’s presidency, potentially fracturing the electorate in ways that boost him in 2020.
Former Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz
Former Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz
Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz appears on the Fox Business Network's Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo television program in New York City, November 6, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS FOOD)
Howard Schultz, chief executive of Starbucks, poses for a portrait at his new Teavana store in New York, October 23, 2013. Starbucks Corp, which has doubled down on its tea bet, is opening its first Teavana tea bar in New York City this week, aiming to do for tea, the world's second most popular beverage after water, what it has done for coffee. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS FOOD)
Starbucks Corp Chief Executive Howard Schultz, pictured with images from the company's new "Race Together" project behind him, speaks during the company's annual shareholder's meeting in Seattle, Washington March 18, 2015. Schultz has deftly navigated thorny issues such as gay marriage, gun control and Congressional gridlock, but his move to weigh in on U.S. race relations has brewed up a social media backlash. The company kicked off the discussion when it published full-page ads in major U.S. newspapers earlier this week with the words "Shall We Overcome?" at center page and "RaceTogether" and the Starbucks logo near the bottom. REUTERS/David Ryder (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)
Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz speaks during the company's annual shareholder's meeting in Seattle, Washington March 18, 2015. Starbucks Corp will begin offering delivery in New York City and Seattle later this year, when it also plans to expand mobile order and pay services across the United States. REUTERS/David Ryder (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)
Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, attends a dinner reception for Chinese President Xi Jinping in Seattle, Washington September 22, 2015. Xi landed in Seattle on Tuesday to kick off a week-long U.S. visit that will include meetings with U.S. business leaders, a black-tie state dinner at the White House hosted by President Barack Obama and an address at the United Nations. REUTERS/Jason Redmond
Howard Schultz CEO of Starbucks poses during an interview with Reuters in Shanghai April 19, 2012. Starbucks Corp wants to make its mainland China expansion a family affair. The world's biggest coffee chain is opening cafes in China at a rate of one every four days in its quest to expand from about 570 shops today to more than 1,500 by 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (CHINA - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES)
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks to shareholders about the company's partnership with the Keurig single-serve coffee brewing machine, at the company's annual meeting of shareholders in Seattle, Washington March 23, 2011. REUTERS/Robert Sorbo (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)
Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz talks to shareholders at the Starbucks Annual Shareholders meeting at McCaw Hall in Seattle, Washington March 19, 2008. REUTERS/Marcus R. Donner (UNITED STATES)
Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz speaks during an interview in Tokyo April 13, 2010. Starbucks plans to sell its Via brand instant coffee in grocery stores and other retail channels outside its own outlets in Japan in the future, Schultz said. To match interview STARBUCKS/JAPAN REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS HEADSHOT)
Howard Schultz, the President of Starbucks Coffee Company takes a sip of coffee as he assists in the opening of his first coffee house in Paris, January 15, 2004. The coffee house is situated on Avenue de l'Opera at the heart of Paris' tourist district. REUTERS/Charles Platiau PP04010041 MAL/WS
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Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who himself is flirting with a 2020 run, warned on Monday that a third-party candidate would have no chance of winning the election.
“I have seen enough data over many years to know that anyone running for POTUS as an independent will split the anti-incumbent, anti-Trump vote,” Bloomberg wrote in a statement. “The stakes couldn’t be higher. We can not afford the risk of spoiler politics that result in Trump’s re-election.”