The Daily Beast

Steve Schmidt Storms Off Own Podcast When Asked About Advising Howard Schultz

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Anti-Trump strategist and pundit Steve Schmidt is feeling the heat from all sides since his client, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, announced on 60 Minutes that he might run for president as an independent. The reaction from Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans was overwhelmingly negative, putting Schmidt on the defensive and costing him his MSNBC punditry perch as long as he is advising Schultz on entering the race in 2020.  

Anybody who has watched Schmidt on MSNBC, or saw the portrayal of him in the 2012 HBO movie Game Change, knows that he operates on a pretty short fuse. Just how short, his two longtime friends and podcast partners, Adam Levine and Elise Jordan, found out when they sat down last Tuesday to interview him on their show Words Matter about Schultz’ just announced potential presidential bid and Schmidt’s role as the chief adviser to the Starbucks founder in it.  

Elise Jordan, an alumnus of the George W. Bush White House and the Rand Paul presidential campaign, outlined the ground rules that everything would be on the record, and that Schmidt would be treated no differently than any other guest even though he was a founder of  Words Matter, along with Jordan and Levine, another Bush veteran and media pro who’d worked with NBC superstar Tim Russert. Things were tense. Schmidt had said that he wouldn’t be involved in any presidential campaign, but that he would be leading a 501c4 dedicated to building a third party movement funded by Schultz, “movement” being the key word in their mind. He gave no heads-up to Jordan and Levine about Schultz’s announcement.

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