It may not have been an official "covfefe," but Howard Schultz told Starbucks staff in February he believes President Donald Trump is creating "chaos" that is affecting the American economy. A leaked video obtained by Business Insider shows the former coffee chain CEO telling employees that Starbucks could thrive in this political environment.
"We have a president that is creating episodic chaos every single day and that is no doubt affecting consumer behavior," Schultz says to support staff in Seattle. He went on in a calm tone, adding that, "The world is screwed up. People are unsettled. There is a tremendous amount of pressure and anxiety in America."
While the message was alarming, Schultz said that he believed Starbucks could thrive in the environment Trump created. "We have an antidote. We always have. And that's the sense of community, the third place, and the environment that we create around family," he says in the video.
Schultz, who stepped down as CEO in April but remains the executive chairman of the company, has been vocal critic of Trump's policies since the election. He's also directly fought against some of the president's policies: In January, Schultz responded to Trump's executive order barring immigrants from seven predominately Muslim countries by promising that Starbucks would hire 10,000 refugees. What's more, he threw his support behind Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Just one month earlier, however, Schultz told CNBC that he didn't believe "Starbucks of the brand is at odds with Trump or his supporters."