Far-left Late Show host Stephen Colbert has established himself as the go-to spot for Democrats announcing their 2020 run. The man who, in theory, should be an equal opportunity humorist, is openly embracing his partisan stripes in another way: Colbert on Wednesday lashed out at potential third party candidate Howard Schultz, mocking him as a “beige envelope.”
Snarling at the ex-Starbucks CEO for criticizing Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris’s very liberal policies, Colbert complained, “Centrist independent? What do you think he means by that? Because I can't tell because he won't say what he would do as president, other than stop us from taxing billionaires.”
Democrats are very worried that a Scultz bid will split the liberal vote and re-elect Trump. Journalists in the media have been quick to parrot this fear. Talking to the hosts of the Showtime political series The Circus,
Is there room for a centrist, a centrist independent when we have become such a partisan country? And you've got some so far to their own corner in Trump that people want a response, not a — not a beige envelope.
Though always liberal, Colbert in 2019 has shifted hard-left. Talking to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, he hailed the “media virtuoso” who doesn’t give a “f**k.” Also in January, he held hands with 2020 candidate Kirsten Gillibrand. Colbert lobbed this softball to Senator Harris: “What makes you happy?”
A partial transcript is below.
Late Show With Stephen Colbert
STEPHEN COLBERT: Let's talk about somebody else who has thrown his hat into the ring this time around and that is Howard Schultz, who is running as what he calls a centrist independent. He hasn't officially declared, but we're no fools. Centrist independent. What do you think he means by that? Because I can't tell because he won't say what he would do as president, other than stop us from taxing billionaire.
JOHN HEILEMANN: And make a mean latte.
ALEX WAGNER: Yeah. He’s a flat white, perhaps. Maybe?
COLBERT: Is there room for a centrist, a centrist independent when we have become such a partisan country? And you've got some so far to their own corner in Trump that people want a response, not a-- not a beige envelope.
WAGNER: I would respectfully disagree in so far as I think —
COLBERT: Don't be respectful.
WAGNER: I'm disrespectfully going to say no F-ing way. But I think people want — even if people say they are independents, they want to feel an emotional visceral pull in this particular moment, right? They believe to believe in the leader that they elect. And Howard Schultz right now is running in the foam of a latte, not even the actual milk or espresso base. Given that, he has not given anyone anything to hold on to. And I think that's going to be a massive challenge in a field that is overcrowded and filled with people who are speak passionately about where they believe the country is headed and where they want to take it.