Donald Trump wants to hold next G7 summit at his Failing Florida golf resort

President Donald Trump wants to hold next year’s G7 summit at his Doral golf resort near Miami.

Trump visited the Doral resort for the first time in his presidency this week after holding a rally in Orlando to attend a fundraiser for his re-election campaign, the Washington Post reported. It marked the 126th visit to one of his properties since he was inaugurated.

Trump likes to visit his own properties so much that he suggested holding next year’s G7 summit, a gathering of leaders from the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, at the Doral resort or one of his other luxury properties, former and current White House officials told the Post.

Aides said that White House staffers and even the White House counsel’s office have pushed back on Trump’s official visits to his properties and voiced concerns about the appearance of him using the power of the presidency to direct taxpayer money into his own companies.

Trump has not listened to the aides and overruled a recommendation against visiting his Turnberry golf club in Scotland last year. He has since visited his golf clubs in Ireland, Los Angeles and now South Florida on official trips.

The trips have been a boon for the resorts. His companies have earned at least $1.6 million in revenue from federal officials and Republican campaigns who had to travel with Trump, according to an analysis by the Post, which reported that the real number is likely much higher because the data used only covered spending through the first half of 2017.

Republicans have even “reshaped” their fundraising schedule, with one-third of fundraisers and donor events attended by Trump being held at his own properties, according to the report. Republican fundraisers told the Post that several groups have held events at Trump’s properties in order to increase the chance that the president will attend.

“The president knows that by visiting his properties, taxpayer dollars will flow directly into his own pockets. Then, unsurprisingly, the president visits his properties all the time,” Ryan Shapiro of the watchdog group Property for the People told the Post.

An earlier analysis found that the Trump campaign and more than three dozen members of Congress had spent upwards of $4 million at Trump’s properties.

The increased political spending at Trump’s properties is at the center of a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia, who allege that Trump’s profits violate laws barring the president from receiving gifts or additional payments from the federal government. Both attorneys general are also alleging that Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution because his Washington hotel accepts payments from foreign governments.

House Democrats passed an amendment in response to Trump’s frequent trips to his properties, seeking to bar the State Department from spending any money at his businesses.

“It’s against the emoluments clause of the Constitution to be making money out of the job,” said Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, a Democrat who sponsored the amendment. “And he does it every chance he can.”

Last year, taxpayers paid at least $30,000 for meeting rooms and hotel stays for then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other officials in luxury suites when Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

According to State Department emails obtained by Property of the People, the rooms cost 300 percent more than the maximum amount allowed by government policies. Taxpayers were also hit with a $1,000 bar tab that Trump aides ran up at the club, ProPublica reported.

Trump’s repeated trips to his resorts came as both his Doral and Mar-a-Lago properties have struggled to draw non-government business.

Mar-a-Lago’s revenue fell by nearly 10 percent from 2017 to last year, according to Trump’s financial disclosure. Doral’s net operating income has plummeted by 69 percent since Trump took office.

“They are severely underperforming,” a Trump tax consultant told officials earlier this year while seeking tax relief for the properties. “There is some negative connotation that is associated with the brand.”

[Salon]

Trump’s tweet derails House bill opposed by lobbyist with close White House ties

President Trump on Wednesday helped derail a bipartisan casino bill opposed by a key White House ally after tying the measure to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a leading Democratic candidate vying to challenge him in 2020.

The intervention by Trump, contained in a morning tweet, eroded Republican support and prompted House Democrats to postpone a vote on the measure, which would pave the way for a new Massachusetts tribal casino.

The bill, H.R. 312, would confirm the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s sovereignty over 321 acres of land — including the Taunton, Mass., site eyed for the casino project. It was scheduled for a House vote Wednesday under expedited procedures requiring a two-thirds majority to pass, reflecting its broad support.

But opponents, including Rhode Island lawmakers, have argued that the bill would harm the business of two neighboring casinos across the state line. A key Trump ally, American Conservative Union chairman Matthew Schlapp, is lobbying for Twin River Management Group, which operates both Rhode Island casinos. Schlapp’s wife, Mercedes, is the White House strategic communications director.

In a Wednesday morning tweet that blindsided lawmakers of both parties, Trump urged Republicans to oppose the measure.

“Republicans shouldn’t vote for H.R. 312, a special interest casino Bill, backed by Elizabeth (Pocahontas) Warren,” Trump said, deploying a nickname he has frequently used to deride the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. “It is unfair and doesn’t treat Native Americans equally!”

Warren co-sponsored a similar 2018 bill introduced by Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), but there is no Senate legislation pertaining to the tribe pending in the current Congress. The House bill, introduced by Rep. William R. Keating (D-Mass.), has the support of 15 Democratic co-sponsors, including the entire Massachusetts delegation, as well as six Republicans.

The singular focus on Warren appeared to reflect a strategy embraced by Schlapp, who focused on the senator in a Wednesday morning tweet and an email he sent Tuesday to Republicans on Capitol Hill.

“Potentially giving her a win on such an issue is a real head scratcher,” Schlapp wrote in the email obtained by The Washington Post. It linked to a February story on a conservative website headlined “Warren’s Casino Fiasco.”

In a brief phone interview, Schlapp asked for questions to be texted to him but did not respond to a text or a subsequent phone call. He later referred a reporter to his Twitter feed, where he posted a statement saying that he “lobbied against the casino because it is a “terrible idea” and that his wife “had no role in my advocacy.” Schlapp is well-known in Washington Republican circles as the lead organizer of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. A Warren spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

According to a person familiar with the circumstances surrounding the tweet, Trump was happy to attack the project once he learned it was a key priority for Warren. He agreed to send the tweet Tuesday evening, though it was not posted until the next morning, a senior White House official said.

But conservative opposition to the bill was brewing even before Trump’s tweet. White House officials have whipped against the vote in recent days — pointing to objections from the Interior Department, which in 2017 reversed a land decision, prompting the need for legislation.

Two prominent Republican lawmakers — Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), the ranking Republican on the Rules Committee and a supporter of the tribal legislation, and Rep. Gary Palmer (Ala.), chairman of the party policy committee and an opponent of the bill — sparred in a Tuesday night leadership meeting and again in a Wednesday morning GOP conference meeting. But Trump’s tweet appeared to seal its fate: House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) canceled plans for a vote less than two hours later.

“You get a little racist tweet from the president, and it creates a backwards stampede of people on the Republican side that previously indicated they were voting yes,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). “The lobbyist for CPAC did a lot of sabotage in the last few days on this issue, and made it a conservative vs. Democrat issue when it’s not.”

A Democratic aide said the Mashpee bill probably will get a vote next week under different procedures requiring only a simple majority to pass.

Cole, a leading GOP voice on Native American issues, said Trump’s tweet was the “precipitating factor” for the bills getting pulled Wednesday and disputed the notion that the bill ought to be dismissed by Republicans because of Warren’s apparent support.

“The communities in the area want it. The state is on record wanting it. Every member of the Massachusetts delegation wants it. Why should we be intervening in a state like that when there is unanimity?” he said. “The real conflict here is between private gaming interests that don’t want Native American competition.”

Cole said he was not aware of Schlapp’s specific involvement in lobbying against the bill or whether he played a role in getting Trump to tweet about it. “I don’t think he knows very much about Indian issues,” Cole said of Schlapp.

Democrats were happy to highlight Schlapp’s possible role while bemoaning the vote’s cancellation Wednesday.

“It is also not lost on anybody that a lobbyist for the Rhode Island casino seems to have a very tight relationship with the White House,” said Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), who represents the area eyed for the casino project. “It’s sad. The consequence of this is going to be that the tribe that greeted the Pilgrims gets hurt once again by the U.S. government.”

The bill did, if only briefly, create some strange bedfellows between Trump and the all-Democratic Rhode Island delegation — whose members have worked against the Massachusetts casino plan for months.

“All I’m going to say is, I’m glad the bill was pulled from the floor today for a variety of reasons,” said Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.). “I don’t know the president’s interest or reasoning completely. I’m not going to comment on that.”

Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), who spent much of Wednesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing lambasting Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr, declined to comment on Schlapp’s potential influence on the president.

He pointed instead to the lobbying done by the Mashpee tribe’s foreign investment partners: “There’s been tremendous lobbying on behalf of a Malaysian hedge fund. I’m very concerned about the level of lobbying.”

[Washington Post]

Trump awards Medal of Freedom to Business Partner Tiger Woods

President Donald Trump bestowed Tiger Woods with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on Monday evening in the White House Rose Garden. 

The duo shares a love of the game of golf, but both have also risen to unpredictable and spectacular comebacks: Trump from bankruptcy to the presidency; Woods from public shamingfollowing multiple affairs, injuries and a resulting painkiller addiction, to winning this year’s Masters. 

The Medal of Freedom recognizes individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the executive order designating the award. Since taking office, Trump has presented the award to numerous athletes, including Alan Page, Roger Staubach, and a posthumous award to Babe Ruth.

Trump, who has a long history with Woods, said in a tweet after the Masters that he had congratulated the golfer on the win and his comeback, announcing that he would be giving him the award.

“Spoke to @TigerWoods to congratulate him on the great victory he had in yesterday’s @TheMasters, & to inform him that because of his incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE, I will be presenting him with the PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM!” the tweet said.

Woods’ career slumped following his divorce and surrounding scandal in late 2009 and early 2010. He lost about $20 million from estimated endorsements after sponsors including Gatorade, AT&T, and Accenture cut ties. After a string of losses in 2011, Woods failed to make the World Golf Ranking’s top 50 players list. But one fan who stuck with him: Donald Trump, who supported the embattled golfer in March 2013 via Twitter.

“I remained strong for @TigerWoods during his difficult period. He rewarded me (and himself) by winning at Trump National Doral,” Trump wrote

Days later, Woods regained his No. 1 ranking

While it’s entirely up to the President’s discretion as to who receives the Medal of Freedom, the choice of Woods, who at 43 is still relatively young compared to other recipients, has raised eyebrows for Trump’s business ties to the pro golfer.

Trump, an avid golfer, owns courses across the world and frequently hits the links, playing most recently this Saturday at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. His Trump National Doral in Miami has a villa named for Woods. According to The New York Times, Woods celebrated his first Masters win in 1997 at Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

And, per the Times, Woods is designing a course in Dubai that would be managed by the Trump Organization. Though it was expected to be completed by the end of 2017, it has yet to open, and a spokesman for Woods declined to comment to the Times. 

The President has played multiple rounds with Woods, including alongside Jack Nicklaus in February at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida.

[CNN]

Reality

Donald Trump is giving the Presidential Medal of Freedom to HIS BUSINESS PARTNER, for businesses he still owns, operates, promotes, and receives profits from.

https://tgrdesign.tigerwoods.com/courses/trump-world-golf-club-dubai/

Trump Says He’s Giving Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom After ‘His Incredible Success & Comeback’

President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that he plans to give Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — in recognition of his “incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE.”

On Sunday Woods, 43, won the Masters Tournament for the fifth time, a surprising reversal of what had been a years-long slide for the country’s most famous golfer.

He walked off the course to an ecstatic response from assembled fans and his friends and family, including his two young children.

“It’s hard to comprehend right now. I mean, honestly, it’s only been a few hours out of winning the tournament,” Woods told CNN later Sunday. “I’m still trying to enjoy it and figure out that I actually won it.”

“I know I have the green jacket on but it’s just, it’s still, I think it’s going to take a little bit of time to sink in,” he added, referring to the iconic jacket awarded to the Masters winner each year.

In his Monday tweet, President Trump said he and Woods had spoken after the Masters win and Trump congratulated him on his “great victory.” The two have been friendly over the years and golfed together earlier this year.

Last summer, Woods said he and Trump have known each other “a number of years.”

“He’s the President of the United States,” Woods said. “You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is customarily awarded to a range of figures including artists, business leaders, philanthropists and politicians. Last year Trump awarded medals to, among others, Sen. Orrin Hatch and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Woods was a trailblazing figure in golf in the ’90s and well into the ’00s where he racked up major win after major win. But the revelation that a series of women said they had affairs with him while he was married to Elin Nordegren seriously damaged his image, and a series of back problems and surgeries imperiled his athletic performance.

In 2017 he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Florida and subsequently pleaded guilty to reckless driving.

His Masters win on Sunday bumped him from No. 12 in the world rankings to No. 6, according to Golf.com. In December 2017, in the wake of his guilty plea and various surgeries, he was ranked No. 1,999.

[Yahoo]

Reality

Tiger Woods works with Donald Trump, is a member of Mar-a-Lago which Trump still owns, and was golfing with Trump a few days before the Masters.

Trump earmarks $20 million for golfer Jack Nicklaus’ pet project in new proposed federal budget

President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal has come under much scrutiny. A portion of the budget requests $20 million to go towards Trump’s golf buddy Jack Nicklaus’s mobile children’s hospital project.

The money will go towards expanding Miami’s Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to offer mobile services, which Nicklaus has long lobbied for.

“The $20 million increase will continue support for the pediatric disaster care pilot initiative which aims to improve pediatric care during emergencies,” the budget proposal reads.

“Nicklaus had lobbied Trump on the golf course in Florida, and he met with HHS Secretary Alex Azar and then-OMB Director Mick Mulvaney in Washington, D.C., to request funds. Trump personally directed HHS to earmark the funds to help Nicklaus develop mobile children’s hospitals, one individual said,” Politico reported.

Trump and Nicklaus have constantly golfed together since November the report said.

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and HHS did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Read the full report here.

[Raw Story]

Trump sent policy pitch from Mar-a-Lago member to VA secretary

President Trump reportedly passed along a handwritten policy pitch from a member of his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., to then-Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkinaccording to a ProPublica report Wednesday.

The note was penned by Trump’s friend Albert Hazzouri, a cosmetic dentist in Scranton, Penn., on Mar-a-Lago stationery after the two saw each other in late 2017.

The letter, which was obtained by ProPublica, is addressed “Dear King” and appears to propose the government pay for more dental care for veterans.

It reportedly was sent on behalf of the American Dental Association (ADA), though ProPublica noted that details of the pitch were murky.

Scrawled at the top of Hazzouri’s note is a message from the president, written in black marker, ProPublica reported.

It says “Send to David S at the V.A.,” referring to Shulkin.

A Trump aide stamped “The president has seen” on the note as well.

The White House and the ADA did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Hill.

The proposal did not advance, according to ProPublica. Shulkin, who was fired in March 2018, told the publication that he does not recall receiving the message. Hazzouri said neither he nor the ADA ever met with the agency.

Hazzouri told the outlet that he had only a vague idea of the proposal he was vouching for on behalf of the ADA, noting that he passed along the note as a favor to the organization.

“I’m really not involved in any politics. I’m just a small-time dentist,” he said. “I guess there’s a lot of money spent on veterans’ care and American Native Indians’ care, and I guess they wanted to have a little hand in it, the American Dental Association, to try to guide what’s going on or whatever.”

A spokeswoman for the ADA declined to elaborate on the reported pitch to the president by Hazzouri, according to ProPublica.

Michael Graham, who leads the ADA’s lobbying arm in Washington, told ProPublica that one of his staffers had raised the topic with Hazzouri. 

“The ADA has been looking into how we can get involved in veterans’ issues,” Graham said. “Lots of vets may not be eligible but need care.”

Hazzouri received a shoutout from Trump during a campaign event in 2016, according to ProPublica. 

“Stand up, Albert. Where the hell are you, Albert? Stand up, Albert. He’s a good golfer, but I’m actually a better golfer than him. Right?” Trump said. 

Addressing the president as “King” was an inside joke with Trump from before the New York business mogul became president, Hazzouri said.

“I call other people King,” he explained. “It’s a very personal thing.”

This is not the first time a Mar-a-Lago club member has appeared to influence the Trump administration, according to ProPublica.

Democrats on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee last month reportedly opened an investigation into whether three associates of Trump, including a Mar-a-Lago club member, influenced hiring decisions at the VA.

[The Hill]

Trump directed Gary Cohn to pressure DOJ to block AT&T-Time Warner deal

President Trump reportedly directed his former economic adviser, Gary Cohn, to pressure the Justice Department to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger, according to a report in The New Yorker.

In an explosive new investigation into the relationship between the Trump White House and Fox News, the magazine reported new details that contradict the administration’s assurances that Trump had no role in the Justice Department’s lawsuit trying to stop the merger.

Citing an unidentified “well-informed source,” The New Yorker reported that in summer 2017, months before the Justice Department filed its antitrust lawsuit, Trump called Cohn and then-chief of staff John Kelly into the Oval Office and told them that he wanted to “make sure” the Justice Department’s lawsuit seeking to block the merger was filed.

“I’ve been telling Cohn to get this lawsuit filed and nothing’s happened!” Trump told Kelly, according to the report. “I’ve mentioned it 50 times. And nothing’s happened. I want to make sure it’s filed. I want that deal blocked!”

Trump repeatedly criticized the $85 billion deal on the campaign trail and as president, vowing to block the merger and saying that it was “not good for the country.”

But, according to The New Yorker, many saw Trump’s opposition to the deal as motivated by his disdain for CNN, which is owned by Time Warner. But the Justice Department has insisted that the president’s unhappiness with CNN, which he often targets in tweets and at rallies as “fake news,” did not influence the case.

After Trump’s direction in the 2017 meeting, The New Yorker reported, Cohn refused to follow the instruction, knowing that it would be “highly improper” for Trump to involve himself in stopping the merger.

“Don’t you f—ing dare call the Justice Department,” he reportedly told Kelly. “We are not going to do business that way.”

A spokesperson for Cohn declined to comment to The New Yorker, and Kelly did not respond to request for comment.

A former White House official who was not named in the report told The New Yorker that Trump often “vented” in “frustration” about the AT&T-Time Warner deal and his desire to block it.

“The President does not understand the nuances of antitrust law or policy,” the former official said. “But he wanted to bring down the hammer.”

A federal judge ruled against the Justice Department last June, allowing the merger to go forward. The Trump administration appealed the decision, but a federal appeals court last month upheld the lower court’s decision.

The anecdote about Trump’s instruction to Cohn appears in The New Yorker’s report as an example of how the Trump administration’s actions have been “pro-Fox.”

The New Yorker reported that Trump’s effort to have Cohn push to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger, in addition to the administration’s approval of the Disney-Fox merger and opposition to the Sinclair-Tribune merger, would all have benefitted the Murdoch family and Fox News.

The Hill has reached out to 21st Century Fox and the Department of Justice for comment.

[The Hill]

Trump praises his Scottish golf course for its beauty and diplomatic links with UK

President Donald Trump’s seemingly out-of-the blue praise Saturday for his Aberdeen golf course in Scotland — and its purported contribution to British relations with the United States — comes only days after he was ordered to pay the legal fees in his losing effort to an offshore wind farm in sight of the course.

“Very proud of perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world,” he tweeted. “Also, furthers U.K. relationship!”

Trump’s tweets — which reach 59 million people — will likely have less impact on the British foreign office than his golf business, although he says he has stepped down from running the Trump Organization to avoid potential conflict of interests.

Trump’s relations with locals near the Aberdeen course have long been strained. Environmental and planning authorities objected to plans for an additional 18-hole course as a threat to the delicate 14-mile sand dunes systems and sought to block a project to develop 550 luxury homes and lodges near the course.

The Herald Scotland newspaper said local critics view Trump as an “international pariah” with a brand so toxic it can only damage the reputation of Aberdeenshire. 

Trump, however, had his own concerns about disturbing the North Sea coastline when he strongly opposed the construction of 11 offshore turbines that he said would spoil the view from his course at Menie, about 9 miles north of Aberdeen.

“I am not thrilled — I want to see the ocean, I do not want to see windmills,” he said in 2006, according to the BBC.

In 2015, he lost that battle over the wind project, which began generating power last July. 

While losing on the merits of the case, Trump took a second hit last week when the Court of Session ruled that Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd. should also pay legal fees over the lawsuit, the BBC reports.

In his tweet, Trump, perhaps, was also touting the course as part of a current two-week recruitment drive to hire 100 additional staff for the resort.

The course, which Trump built from scratch on 1,800 acres in 2005, has proved to be a divisive force within the local community. Legal challenges have sought to block the development of the second course as well as the sprawling housing development nearby that was to include luxury homes and resort lodges. The Scotsman newspaper reported last week that the Trump Organization has quietly agreed to relocate some of the lodges.

Sarah Malone, executive vice-president of Trump International, told Scotland on Sunday that such readjustments are “standard practice” and that the organization is “entirely satisfied and confident in our plans.”

The Aberdeen course, one of Trump’s biggest investments, lost $4.5 million in 2017, its fourth consecutive year in the red, The Washington Post reported.

Trump, whose mother was born in Scotland, has proved a magnet for protesters when he visits his Scottish properties. Thousands of demonstrators turned out for Trump’s appearance at his other Scottish club, Turnberry, last July, including a paraglider bearing a banner that read “Trump well below par,” The Herald reports.

[USA Today]

Trump calls to save coal plant supplied by major supporter

His missive came just days before the TVA board is slated to vote on the future of Paradise Unit 3, a 49-year-old coal plant that the federally owned utility has said would be too expensive to keep operating.

The 1,150-megawatt plant gets the bulk of its coal from a subsidiary of Murray Energy, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Robert Murray, the CEO of the mining company, is a major Trump supporter who has personally lobbied the president to take other actions to help the ailing coal industry, particularly in regions where he sells coal. The White House has shelved a proposed coal bailout plan that has been among Murray’s top priorities, although the Trump administration has rolled back numerous other environmental rules the magnate has criticized.

Murray is a prolific GOP donor, and his company gave $1 million from his company to the Trump-supporting super PAC America First Action in the last election cycle, among other big contributions. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who is awaiting Senate confirmation, lobbied for Murray Energy among other clients before joining the Trump administration, including joining the CEO and other company officials in a 2017 meeting with Energy Secretary Rick Perry to discuss Murray’s policy proposals. Wheeler has said he did not write the action plan Murray presented to the Trump administration.

In a statement, Murray said he has not lobbied the White House to intervene on behalf of the plant.

“We have had no such contact,” Murray said in a statement. “In the interest of the TVA ratepayers, the remaining coal-fired unit at the Paradise Plant must remain in operation. The power will be more reliable and lower cost.”

Murray later acknowledged in an interview that he has responded to several members of Congress who have asked about “the devastation” that would be caused by the loss of the Paradise coal plant, and he said that Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin asked about the plant when the two met late last week to discuss another subject. But he told POLITICO he had nothing to do with the president’s tweet.

[Politico]

Update

Trump failed. The TVA closed the plant.

Trump tweets ex-Starbucks CEO Schultz lacks ‘guts’ to run for president

President Donald Trump wrote online on Monday that former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz “doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to be president,” lashing out at the coffee mogul who said over the weekend that he is weighing an independent 2020 bid for the White House.

“Howard Schultz doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to run for President! Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the ‘smartest person.’ Besides, America already has that! I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!” the president wrote on Twitter Monday morning.

During a pre-taped interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Schultz told journalist Scott Pelley he was “seriously thinking of running for president.” Though he characterized himself as “a lifelong Democrat,” Schultz said he would run as a “centrist independent outside of the two-party system,” criticizing both Democrats and Republicans for failure to meet the needs of the American people.

Many, including former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, a Democrat who announced his own 2020 campaign on Jan. 12, warned that an independent candidate like Schultz could boost Trump’s reelection chances by siphoning voters away from a Democratic candidate.

In recent decades, candidates running independent campaigns for president have caused a stir, but never come close to winning. Billionaire Ross Perot placed third in 1992 with 19 percent of the vote, enough that many have credited him with drawing support from then-incumbent President George H.W. Bush, allowing President Bill Clinton to unseat him.

In 2000, Consumer advocate Ralph Nader ran as the Green Party’s presidential candidate, pulling enough votes from Democrat Al Gore to help President George W. Bush secure the presidency in that year’s razor-thin election.

[Politico]

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