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Billionaire investor who predicted Trump's victory doubts Howard Schultz has 'the stomach for this'

Aarthi Swaminathan

Bond king and DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach thinks former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz — who is considering running in the 2020 U.S. presidential race — is likely to drop out.

“I’m not sure he’s going to have the stomach for this,” Gundlach told Yahoo Finance’s Julia La Roche in an exclusive interview last week. “I still think it’s quite possible that Howard Schultz just disappears.”

Gundlach, who accurately predicted Donald Trump’s ascent to the White House, explained further: “He did this nice, gentile book signing thing, right after he said he was thinking about running for office I think it was 23 seconds into the official interview with some fellow at CNBC, where he started getting heckled.”

The heckler, a member of the audience, shouted “don't help elect Trump, you egotistical, billionaire asshole.”

“I don’t think he expected to be insulted, profanely insulted, by somebody, 23 seconds into his coming out party,” continued Gundlach. “He’s kind of disappeared into his shell a little bit since then.”

Trump says Schultz doesn’t have the ‘guts’

Trump also weighed in on Schultz’s bid following an interview he did on “60 Minutes,” accusing the CEO of not having the “guts” to run for president.

“I feel bad for him at this point,” Tina Podlodowski, the state Democratic Party chairwoman in Schultz’s home state of Washington, told Politico. “From the young voters all the way through seniors, he’s managed to upset most everyone in the United States.”

But others are supportive. Another billionaire, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, told Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman: “There are some extraordinarily good business people. Donald Trump was not one of those people, he just happens to be in the White House… but people like Howard Schultz or Mike Bloomberg, they are extraordinarily good business people and therefore I think they would be extraordinarily good in the White House running a country.”

TOPSHOT - Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson speaks during a ceremony to award test pilots  Mark 'Forger' Stucky and Frederick 'CJ' Sturckow their FAA commercial astronaut wings during a ceremony at the Department of Transportation in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2019. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

The 65-year-old former chairman of Starbucks stepped down in June last year on the anniversary of the company’s initial public offering. Many were speculating that a forthcoming bid for the presidency was likely.

“I’ll be thinking about a range of options for myself, from philanthropy to public service,” he wrote in a company-wide memo. “But I’m a long way from knowing what the future holds.”

During the “60 Minutes” interview, Schultz said that he will run as an independent in all states, districts, and counties.

"[American] people are exhausted,” he explained. “Their trust has been broken. And, they are looking for a better choice."

Observing the chaos unfolding before him, Gundlach, who has more than $121 billion in assets under management at his firm, warned the 2020 race was likely to be a thoroughly strange affair.

“As I said during the 2016 election, when I predicted way back January 2016 that Trump would win, I said, if you think this election is weird in 2016, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” said Gundlach.

[Full transcript of Jeffrey Gundlach’s extended conversation with Yahoo Finance]

Aarthi is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @aarthiswami.

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