- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2017

A crowd of Starbucks shareholders at its annual meeting was not happy when an investor cornered CEO Howard Schultz on partisan politics and his plan to hire 10,000 refugees.

Justin Danhof from the National Center for Public Policy Research stood up Wednesday before a crowd in Seattle and asked Mr. Schultz why the company was quick to chastise President Trump’s proposed travel ban on refugees when similar policies implemented by the Obama administration were met with silence. That question, along with another on the company’s ability to safely vet refugee, was met with round of boos.

“ABC News reported that in 2011, after discovering two al Qaeda members with links to Iraq operating in Kentucky, the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees fox six months — even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets,” Mr. Danhof said, Yahoo Finance reported. “Where was your ‘heavy heart’ then? The media didn’t even report on the Obama and Clinton travel ban until 2013, two years later. Starbucks didn’t seem to have anything to say about it then, either. … Why were you willing to have Starbucks‘ reputation take a beating by attacking President Trump’s executive order when you lacked the courage to speak out against the Obama/Clinton travel ban?”

Mr. Schultz waited for jeers to stop before saying that Starbucks acted with “humanity and compassion” instead of politics.

“I can unequivocally tell you that there’s zero, absolutely no evidence whatsoever, that there’s any dilution in the Starbucks brand, reputation, or core business as a result of being compassionate,” Mr. Schultz said.

The CEO added that hiring 10,000 refugees around the globe over the next five years would require “no additional cost” to Starbucks as it pertained to a vetting process.

“When you do have people who have defended the nation and saved lives in very, very unsafe areas as interpreters helping American soldiers, we strongly believe that we have a moral obligation to help them transition back into the United States,” Mr. Schultz said.

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