Schultz apologizes for claiming to spend more time with military than any 2020 candidate
Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO who is exploring a run for the presidency as an independent, apologized to two Democratic candidates after claiming he had spent more time with the military than anyone else in the 2020 field.
“I apologize to @PeteButtigieg and @TulsiGabbard who served our country honorably,” Schultz tweeted. “In that moment I made something that should unite us all, about me. I made a mistake and I apologize.”
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Schultz was asked whether he was “competent to run the American military” during an interview with the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, who also noted that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was previously on Starbucks’ board.
“I probably have spent more time in the last decade certainly than anyone running for president with the military,” Schultz said, adding that he’d been to bases in Japan and Kuwait.
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a veteran of the Afghanistan War, called out Schultz on Twitter, saying he did not see a Starbucks when he was deployed in Afghanistan.
“I remember a Green Beans Coffee at the exchange at Bagram, and a decent espresso machine run by the Italian NATO element at ISAF HQ. But I don’t recall seeing any Starbucks over there,” Buttiegieg fired back in a tweet with Schultz’s quote.
Buttiegieg currently serves as a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 for seven months. In 2009, he was commissioned a naval intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) was deployed from 2004 to 2005 to Iraq, where she served in a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard, and was also deployed to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009.
Schultz noted during his interview that “Starbucks has built 50 stores that are adjacent and close to military installations.”
In 2013, when Schultz was still CEO, Starbucks pledged to hire a total of 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018. The company has hired over 21,000 veterans and military spouses since the pledge.