- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 18, 2016

Never one to shy away from political comment, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz complained to employees last week about the “lack of dignity” in the 2016 presidential election.

“I think it’s turned into something none of us has ever seen before, which I would label as almost a circus of yelling bombastic attacks, of a lack of respect, of a lack of dignity,” Mr. Schultz told workers at an open forum at Starbucks‘ Carson Valley Roasting Plant in Nevada, Fortune magazine reported.

“We are talking about the highest office in the land and the most powerful person in the world,” he added.

The 62-year-old executive didn’t name names or party in his criticism, but he has been outspoken about his left-leaning political views in the past.

Last year he launched, and quickly ended, a widely mocked campaign to have Starbucks baristas discuss race relations with customers. Two years before that, he faced backlash from gun rights advocates after he “requested” that customers not bring guns into Starbucks stores. In 2012, the company came out in support of same-sex marriage.

Mr. Schultz acknowledged his critics in his remarks to employees last week, saying, “I have been criticized because people say, ‘Well your role is to create shareholder value and profits, not to use Starbucks as a political tool,’” Fortune reported.

“I’m asking myself what can we do, given our scale … to effect change, to elevate the discourse, and to demonstrate that this is not the way the country should be run,” he said.

Rumors surfaced last year that Mr. Schultz was considering a bid for the presidency. He announced in an op-ed in the New York Times in August that he would not be running, Business Insider reported.

He supported President Obama in the 2012 election but hasn’t endorsed a candidate yet for the 2016 election.

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