Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz won’t run for president in 2020, ending his exploration of an independent run against President Donald Trump.
“My belief in the need to reform our two-party system has not wavered, but I have concluded that an independent campaign for the White House is not how I can best serve our country at this time,” Schultz said in a letter posted to his website on Friday.
Schultz’s decision to abandon a potential White House bid will come as a relief to Democrats who were worried that a third party candidate could siphon off votes from their party’s eventual nominee and result in a Trump second term.
In his letter Friday, Schultz acknowledged their concerns, writing that “not enough people today are willing to consider backing an independent candidate because they fear doing so might lead to re-electing a uniquely dangerous incumbent president.”
Schultz also cited his recovery from a back injury in April that led to three back surgeries and hindered him from “continuing my travels and engaging with people to the degree that is necessary.”
In June, he announced he was taking the summer off from campaigning to recover from the back surgeries, and CNN reported at the time that he reduced his staff on his team.
Schultz in January said that he was seriously considering running for president as a “centrist independent” after stepping down as chairman and CEO of Starbucks in 2018.
Axios first reported on Schultz’s decision to not run for president.
CNN’s Kate Sullivan and Poppy Harlow contributed to this report.