Howard Schultz’s book launch — and potential presidential bid — is off to a rough start.
Just one day after announcing that he was preparing to run for president as a third-party candidate, the former Starbucks CEO kicked off a nationwide tour Monday evening to promote his new book. He had barely begun to speak at a Barnes & Noble in New York when a protester interrupted.
‘‘Don’t help elect Trump, you egotistical billionaire!’’ the unidentified bearded man yelled, adding an expletive. ‘‘Go back to being ratioed on Twitter!’’
The brief disruption summed up the animosity and outright hostility that Schultz has faced since Sunday, when he told CBS’s ‘‘60 Minutes’’ that he was seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent.
‘‘Go back to Davos with the other billionaire elite who think they know how to run the world,’’ the man at the book launch shouted as private security guards hustled him out of the room and a handful of audience members booed.
A few minutes later, a second heckler spoke up, HuffPost reported.
‘‘Health care is a human right!’’ the man chanted repeatedly, in apparent reference to Schultz’s claim from the ‘‘60 Minutes’’ interview that ‘‘the country cannot afford’’ to provide free health care for all. He, too, was removed from the event.
The interruptions to Schultz’s first book tour event followed two days of negative backlash online and in print. As The Washington Post’s Michael Scherer reported, Schultz’s announcement on Sunday was met with immediate blowback from Democrats. High-profile liberals, including the singer Cher, threatened to never set foot in a Starbucks again. (Schultz no longer runs the company, but remains one of its largest shareholders.)
‘‘Vanity projects that help destroy democracy are disgusting,’’ tweeted Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress and a former campaign adviser to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. ‘‘If he enters the race, I will start a Starbucks boycott because I’m not giving a penny that will end up in the election coffers of a guy who will help Trump win.’’
Ga. gubernatorial candidate to respond to Trump speech
WASHINGTON — Stacey Abrams, a rising star from Georgia who narrowly lost a race for governor there last year, will deliver the Democrats’ official response to President Trump’s State of the Union address next week.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said Tuesday that he invited Abrams to make the televised response weeks ago. She publicly agreed to the often-thankless task on Tuesday.
“She is just a great spokesperson,” Schumer told reporters. “She’s an incredible leader. She has led the charge for voting rights, which is at the root of just about everything else.”
The designation provides Abrams, 45, with a nationally televised platform to burnish her profile at a time when she is said to be considering her next political steps, including a possible run for Senate in 2020 against Senator David Perdue, a Georgia Republican. But it also carries substantial risks: A notoriously awkward format, State of the Union responses have been more memorable in recent years for the memes they have produced than persuasive oratory.
New York Times