Former CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz issued a dire warning to his employees at a meeting earlier this year, saying that President Donald Trump was creating “chaos” that could hurt the economy.
According to a video obtained by Business Insider, Schultz made the comments at a staff meeting in February. He said that there was “a tremendous amount of pressure and anxiety in America” and further speculated that those feelings could translate into consumer behavior.
Schultz later added that Starbucks stores could offer an “antidote” to that pressure and anxiety by offering its customers a sense of “community.”
In an email to CNBC, the coffee giant confirmed the comments, writing, “We can confirm that these comments were made by then-CEO Howard Schultz during a private meeting at the Starbucks Support Center in Seattle with our business leadership team on February 17.”
They added: “It’s important to note the timing of these comments, as they were made over three months ago and were centered around the sensitivity required for success in the retail business during that period of time. Also important to understand the full context for this comment as Howard also said: ‘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.”
Schultz, who was an outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton, stepped down as CEO of Starbucks in April but stayed on as chairman.