Shortly after taking office, President Donald Trump was viewed by Starbucks‘ chairman and longtime CEO Howard Schultz as creating “chaos” that was already affecting the American economy.
“The world is screwed up. People are unsettled,” Schultz, who stepped down as Starbucks’ CEO in April, said during a meeting with the company’s support staff in Seattle in February. “There is a tremendous amount of pressure and anxiety in America.”
“We have a president that is creating episodic chaos every single day and that is no doubt affecting consumer behavior,” Schultz said in a video obtained by Business Insider.
Schultz said he believed Starbucks was perhaps uniquely suited to thrive in such an environment.
“We have an antidote,” he said. “We always have. And that’s the sense of community, the third place, and the environment that we create around family.”
Schultz has been an outspoken critic of Trump’s policies.
In January, Starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 refugees after Trump issued an executive order barring refugees from entering the US. At the time, Schultz wrote an open letter saying the American dream had been “called into question.” Previously, Schultz had endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president.
“I think it’s obvious that Hillary Clinton needs to be the next president,” Schultz said in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow in September. “On the other side, we’ve seen such vitriolic display of bigotry and hate and divisiveness, and that is not the leadership we need for the future of the country.”
In December, Schultz said in an interview with CNBC that he did not believe “that Starbucks or the brand is at odds with Trump or his supporters” on any level.
Here’s the video: