Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says he won't run for president in 2020

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has announced that he will not seek the presidency after months of consideration.

In a letter posted to his website on Friday, Schultz wrote, “My belief in the need to reform our two-party system has not wavered, but I have concluded that an independent campaign for the White House is not how I can best serve our country at this time.” The letter will be going out to thousands of supporters later in the day, Axios reported.

Schultz, a self-described “lifelong Democrat,” had discussed a potential run as an independent in January, suggesting that he was driven by the “reckless failure” of constitutional responsibility among both Democrats and Republicans.

“The American people are exhausted. Their trust has been broken and they are looking for a better choice,” he said in a CBS interview that month.

In a video later posted to Twitter, Schultz said he would be traveling around the country in the following weeks to speak with members of the public about his political aspirations. 

He ended up cutting his travels short, however, after experiencing acute back pain that led to three back surgeries, he said in an email to his supporters in mid-June. 

Related: Former Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz

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Former Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz
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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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“I am feeling much better, and my doctors foresee a full recovery so long as I rest and rehabilitate,” he said at the time. “I have decided to take the summer to do just that.”

In the end, he didn’t have to go far to get feedback about his political aspirations. The news in January that Schultz was considering a presidential run as an independent ignited a wave of Democratic concern that such a bid could help President Donald Trump get reelected.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who also considered a 2020 run, quickly spoke out against the idea of a third-party candidate, arguing that person “would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the President.”

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, who served as secretary of housing and urban development under President Barack Obama, offered the same warning, telling CNN that an independent run by Schultz “would provide Trump with his best hope for getting reelected.”

Former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod voiced similar concerns on Twitter, calling Schultz’s idea “the only good news” Trump received that week.

Trump appeared to try to goad Schultz into running, tweeting that the businessman “doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to be president.” 

Schultz stepped down as CEO of Starbucks in June 2018 and was immediately asked by reporters about any White House ambitions, which he then declined to rule out.

“I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service,” he told The New York Times at the time. “But I’m a long way from making any decisions about the future.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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