Steve Schmidt
Steve Schmidt

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz apparently brought in veteran Republican political consultant and Edelman’s ex-vice chairman Steve Schmidt for his professional and political savvy that is needed to support an independent run for the White House.

So far, no good.

Schmidt, who worked in the George W. Bush White House and was a top staffer in John McCain’s presidential run, is founder of the “Words Matter” podcast with Elise Jordan, another Bush staffer who advised Rand Paul on his presidential run, and Adam Levine, aide to Bush and former Democratic Senator Pat Moynihan.

I was a big fan of Words Matter, which launched Aug. 6, 2018.

Schmidt who left the GOP last June because it became “fully the party of Trump,” has been widely criticized for working for Schultz by those who fear the independent run will keep Trump in the White House.

He agreed to take questions about his Schultz affiliation during the Words Matter that aired Feb. 10.

Schmidt totally lost it. The cool and calculating political operative displayed some pretty thin skin, storming off the set of the podcast because he objected to a line of questioning about Schultz’s criticism of Elizabeth Warren’s proposal of a 70 percent marginal tax rate on incomes over $10M. 

Schultz had dismissed the proposal as “ridiculous.” 

Schmidt on Words Matter called Warren’s proposal “ridiculous, confiscatory and anti-growth.”

Executive producer Levine countered: “Will Derek Jeter or another athlete not hit another home run because they’re going to get taxed at 70? What’s the economic behavior that he thinks is anti-growth, other than his own pocket?

“This is bullshit,” said Schmidt. “I’m not doing this.” He then put down his headset and ended the interview.

Levine told the Daily Beast that he thinks Schmidt had anticipated a “softball interview.”

He added: “After everything he said about Donald Trump in the past two years, he’s part of an effort that could lead to Trump’s reelection.”

Both Schultz and Schmidt better toughen up. 

If their independent candidacy builds momentum, they will attract the attention of Trump, who can be pretty harsh on political opponents. 

Perhaps, they could ask “Crying Chuck,” "Little Marco,” “Crooked Hillary,” "Low Energy Jeb" or “Lying Ted” for some pointers.

Schmidt’s implosion apparently put an end to the Words Matter podcast. Jordan also called it quits.

I’ll miss Words Matter. The podcast proved that words really do matter.