Self-described Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) went after the former Starbucks CEO, who recently announced his possible run in the 2020 presidential election, by claiming that billionaires need to “work their way up.” Her claim came before she got hit hard with the rebuttal that Howard Schultz did work his way up in life.
Schultz, a lifelong Democrat, recently announced he is “seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent.”
I love our country, and I am seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent.
— Howard Schultz (@HowardSchultz) January 28, 2019
During a CBS interview on Monday, Schultz said he respects the Democratic Party but “I no longer feel affiliated because I don’t know their views represent the majority of Americans. I don’t think we want a 70 percent income tax in America.”
“The way I’ve come to this decision is, I believe that if I ran as a Democrat, I would have to say things that I know in my heart I do not believe, and I would have to be disingenuous,” he added.
Schultz’s comment created a spark in Ocasio-Cortez to blast billionaires who seek to run for president.
“Why don’t people ever tell billionaires who want to run for President that they need to ‘work their way up’ or that ‘maybe they should start with city council first?’” she wrote on Twitter.
Why don’t people ever tell billionaires who want to run for President that they need to “work their way up” or that “maybe they should start with city council first”? https://t.co/3d8Nenrvl5
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 30, 2019
The Democratic representative gets hit with the facts
Schultz grew up in the projects in Brooklyn, New York, and worked his way up in life, according to Business Insider.
Schultz experienced poverty at the age of seven when his father, a truck driver, broke his ankle while working but didn’t have worker’s compensation or health insurance, so he was out of a job, leaving the family with no income.
The former CEO went on to work as a bartender — which Ocasio-Cortez did as well — along with other jobs. Later, he encountered Starbucks at Hammarplast. He was then hired a year later as director of retail operations and marketing, and then went on to create his own coffee company, but eventually came back to buy Starbucks and became the CEO.
He lived in a housing project. https://t.co/LTsdM0fO4D
— Alyssa E. Hackbarth (@AlyssaEinDC) January 30, 2019
— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) January 30, 2019
Building a $83 billion global company from basically nothing is … something? https://t.co/s4VmeBNt86
— Steve Goldstein (@MKTWgoldstein) January 30, 2019
The billionaire slams Ocasio-Cortez
Responding to Ocasio-Cortez’s remark that billionaires are “policy failures,” Schultz said that’s “so un-American.”
“It’s so un-American to think that way,” Schultz said. “I’m self-made. I came from the projects and took advantage of the promise of the country. I’m living proof of the American dream.”
Watch the video below:
Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) saying billionaires are "policy failures" and America is "immoral" for allowing them: "It's so un-American to think that way. I'm self-made…I came from the projects…I'm living proof of the American dream" pic.twitter.com/vIsh5fpCLb
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 30, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t the only one criticizing the billionaire, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) reacted to Schultz saying her plan to tax the wealthy is “ridiculous.”
“What’s ‘ridiculous’ is billionaires who think they can buy the presidency to keep the system rigged for themselves while opportunity slips away for everyone else,” Warren wrote.
What's “ridiculous” is billionaires who think they can buy the presidency to keep the system rigged for themselves while opportunity slips away for everyone else. The top 0.1%, who'd pay my #UltraMillionaireTax, own about the same wealth as 90% of America. It's time for change. https://t.co/D04G5fNvpa
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 29, 2019
Following the criticism, he explained his life story and how he believes “everyone should have a chance in America” in a video on Twitter.
Watch the video below:
People need real opportunities to help themselves, not unrealistic policies and promises. Genuine opportunities, like the ones I had, which helped me leave the housing projects of Brooklyn and realize my dreams. #ReimagineUS pic.twitter.com/oUBxTN57iW
— Howard Schultz (@HowardSchultz) January 30, 2019
During the CBS interview, Schultz also blasted Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for her “not American” call to “eliminate” private health insurance to embrace “Medicare for All.”