Report: Mitt Romney Organizes 2020 Donor Meetup for Starbucks’ Howard Schultz

Mitt Romney (L) and Starbucks founder Howards Schultz (R).
George Frey/Getty, Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

Starbucks founder Howard Schultz — who is contemplating a presidential run as a Democrat — recently attended a private gathering of political donors organized by Mitt Romney, according to a report at Politico.

Politico’s Ben Schrekinger writes that the donors, “convened by” Romney, were unimpressed with the would-be candidate:

Wall Street analysts are wary, and company leadership is nervous, about the effect a Democratic bid by its chairman emeritus could have on Starbucks’ business, given its bipartisan customer base. If that weren’t discouraging enough, his retirement last month set off a boomlet of pundits urging him not to run. And his recent appearance at a private gathering of political donors convened by Mitt Romney inspired indifference.

Romney is a Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah’s midterm elections, running to replace incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) pending retirement.

Following the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia-based Starbucks framed as a racial incident by news media outlets in April, the coffee shop chain closed 8,000 of its locations across the nation for one afternoon to conduct “racial bias training” for its employees.

In March of 2015, Starbucks launched a political campaign it described as a “race relations initiative” in which its servers were instructed to initiate conversations with customers about “racism.” Entitled “Race Together,” the campaign included political messages written upon coffee cups by Starbucks’ baristas.

Schultz supported Starbucks’s political campaign, saying “we must do more” to discuss racism in America. Fortune reported, “In a video addressing Starbucks’ nearly 200,000 workers, 40% of whom are members of a racial minority, Schultz dismissed the notion that race was too hot a topic business-wise for Starbucks to tackle.”

Schultz endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in September 2016 interviews with CNN and CNBC.

“I think it’s obvious Hillary Clinton needs to be the next president,” said Schultz, describing himself as a “life-long Democrat.”

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