Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz has made no secret of his disdain for Donald Trump.
In a letter to staff on Wednesday, Schultz said he was gobsmacked by the president-elect’s victory but said Americans had to respect the results.
“Like so many of our fellow Americans—both Democrats and Republicans—I am stunned,” Schultz wrote. “We cannot know what the precise impact will be on our country and the rest of the world. I am hopeful that we will overcome the vitriol and division of this unprecedented election season.”
Echoing the conciliatory tone of Trump’s opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama in speeches Wednesday afternoon, Schultz said people needed to give Trump a chance to govern well.
In September, the politically outspoken Schultz endorsed Clinton for president, saying he remained optimistic about the country’s future, despite what he saw as an effort by politicians and the media to paint the nation with “cloudiness and despair.” Earlier in the year, he had decried the Republican primaries as “a circus.”
In his staff letter Wednesday, Schultz called on his employees to be kind with other people and to to “find the best version of ourselves to help our country move on in the direction we all deserve.”
This election isn’t the first time Schultz waded into political territory at the risk of angering his clientele. A few years ago, he became a target of the gun lobby for asking gun owners to leave their weapons in their cars when coming to a Starbucks. And last year,Schultz quickly backed off an effort to have Starbucks baristas talk to customers about the state of race relations. The company itself has also been targeted for seemingly innocuous efforts like monochromatic coffee cups during the holiday season.
Below is Schultz’s letter in full:
Last night, like so many of you, I watched the election returns with family and friends. And like so many of our fellow Americans – both Democrats and Republicans – I am stunned.
We cannot know what the precise impact will be on our country and the rest of the world. I am hopeful that we will overcome the vitriol and division of this unprecedented election season.
As Americans, we must honor the democratic process. We have a president-elect in Donald Trump, and it is our responsibility as citizens to give him the opportunity to govern well and bring our country together.
Whether you are pleased or disappointed by the outcome, we each still have a choice. Today and every day, we have a choice in how we treat one another in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and of course in our stores.
We can choose to answer the challenges of the day with kindness and compassion. We can choose to listen, to understand and to act with respect. We can choose to live by the values that reside in each of us, and honor our commitment to nurture the human spirit with love, and offer everyone in our stores and communities a place of inclusion and optimism.
Today, I trust you, and I trust all that is good in our country. Let’s take care of each other and the people in our lives. I believe we will each find the best version of ourselves to help our country move on in the direction we all deserve. Together is where our collective power lies, as partners, and as Americans.
I am so very proud to be your partner.