Howard Schultz
Ex-CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz | Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
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US files charges against Chinese telecom giant Huawei for stealing trade secrets among others. 

How US is reacting to former Starbucks CEO’s possible run in presidential elections

Ever since former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said in an interview Sunday that he was “seriously considering” running for President ahead of the 2020 elections, US leaders, including President Donald Trump, and media moguls have come out strongly against the proposed idea.

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In CBS News’s popular 60 Minutes, Schultz, a visionary credited to have taken Starbucks to great heights, told correspondent Scott Pelley that he is “seriously thinking of running of running for President” as a centrist independent candidate had been a self-proclaimed Democrat all his life.

Before long, Americans across the spectrum began speaking out against his proposed candidacy.

Trump responded to Schultz’s declaration on Twitter Monday saying that the former Starbucks chief “doesn’t have the guts to run for President.” He said, “Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the “smartest person.” Besides, America already has that!”

The US President has journalists, historians and ordinary citizens on his side against Schultz’s possible presidency campaign, if he confirms it.

Business tycoon and former three-time mayor of New York City Mike Bloomberg said Monday that there was no chance for an independent candidate of winning the election — a reason that forced Bloomberg out of the race in the 2016 contest.

Though he didn’t refer to Schultz directly, the message was meant to for the ex-Starbucks chief, said the media.

History professors Kevin Kruse and Julian Zelizer argued in an article for CNN that a possible Schultz campaign would be reminiscent of the presidential campaign of consumer advocate and political activist Ralph Nader in 2000 that ultimately saw the race boil down to the one between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush. The Republican won  the election.

Kruse and Zelizer said Schultz could end up playing the “same spoiler role in 2020,” which could lead to drawing “many more votes from one party than the other.”

Michelle Goldberg, an opinion columnist, argued the same in The New York Times, referring to Bloomberg’s case.

Before the opinions poured in, Pelley indeed asked Schultz if he worries he will “siphon votes away from the Democrats and, thereby, ensure that President Trump has a second term.”

Schultz just said, “I wanna see America win. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Republican. Bring me your ideas. And I will be an independent person, who will embrace those ideas. Because I am not, in any way, in bed with a party.”

Democrats won’t be too welcoming of a possible Schultz campaign after Bill Burton, former advisor to Barack Obama, joined Schultz’s team.

Here’s a look at how other American personalities have reacted to the possibility of Schultz campaign.

Further reading:

  1. The Politico report Democrats trash Howard Schultz 2020 float 
  2. NPR report Why Howard Schultz’s Independent Bid For President Is A Radical Idea 
  3. Huffington Post report Hecklers Attack Howard Schultz At Event After He Teases Presidential Bid
  4. The Politico report Howard Schultz’s Venti-Size Disaster 

US files charges against Huawei amid tensions with China 

The US Justice Department Monday filed a string of charges against Chinese telecom giant Huawei and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou for indulging in stealing trade secrets, obstructing a criminal probe, and evading US-imposed sanctions on Iran.

Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on 1 December over US allegations that she had made use of one of her company’s subsidiaries, Skycom, to evade Iran sanctions between 2009 and 2014. Canada made the arrest at the behest of US, an event that increased friction between Ottawa and Beijing, amid ongoing economic and political tensions between US and China.

In Monday’s judicial pronouncement, US prosecutors reiterated the allegations that Huawei used the Hong Kong-based shell company Skycom to sell its equipment in Iran.

An Al Jazeera report said the 13-count indictment unveiled against Huawei saw the Justice Department say, “Huawei’s claims that it sold its interest in Skycom to an unrelated third party in 2007 and that Skycom was merely Huawei’s local business partner in Iran were false.”

“In reality, Huawei orchestrated the sale to look like a transaction between two unrelated parties, but Huawei actually controlled the company that purchased Skycom, according to the indictment,” the report added.

Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general who announced the indictment, was quoted as saying, “These are very serious actions by a company that appears to be using corporate espionage and sanctions violations not only to enhance their bottom line, but also to compete in the world economy. This is something the United States will not stand for.”

He said Huawei has been doing this for the past ten years.

Meanwhile, the Chinese company said it was “disappointed to learn of the charges brought against the company today,” and that it was not involved in “any of the asserted violations.”

It also asserted that the firm “is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng.”

In recent months, US has escalated efforts to urge countries to not consider Huawei for building their 5G telecom networks. Charges levelled against Huawei in the US are being seen by media agencies as a potential factor to further fuel tensions between the US and China even as Trump’s officials have maintained that this will not impact their trade talks.

China’s Vice-Premier Liu He is currently in Washington to negotiate with key US officials, including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, over how this trade war can be put to an end.

Further reading:

  1.    The Guardian report Huawei: China calls US charges ‘immoral’ as markets slide

2.    The Global News report U.S. charges Huawei, proceeding with Meng extradition from Canada

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