Steve Schmidt Storms Off His Own Podcast Over Questions on Howard Schultz: ‘This is Bullsh*t’


Steve Schmidt, the Republican strategist who left his contributor gig at MSNBC to advise Howard Schultz, stormed off his own podcast after co-hosts grilled him on the billionaire’s flirtation with a 2020 run.

Elise Jordan and Adam Levine, hosts of Words Matter, interrogated Schmidt on his work for Schultz, the founder of Starbucks who drew heavy criticism for announcing he was considering running for president as an independent.

The podcast episode — first reported by the Daily Beast — lasted some 30 minutes before a particularly biting line of questioning from Levine prompted Schmidt to declare, “this is bullshit” and storm off.

The exchange that inspired Schmidt’s exit from the podcast — and apparently the show, as the episode is described as his last — was on Schultz calling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s proposal of a 70-percent marginal tax rate on the rich “ridiculous.”

“Does he really mean that a tax on incomes over $10 million at 70%, which is widely popular with the American people, is ridiculous? Is that an adult conversation?” Levine asked Schmidt.

“Yeah, I think he thinks it’s ridiculous, and that’s it’s confiscatory, and that it’s anti-growth — that would be his point,” Schmidt replied.

“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 it’s anti-growth, other than his own pocket?” Levine pressed.

“Adam, this is bullshit,” Schmidt shot back, slamming his headphone down. “I’m not doing this.”

“Steve, you’ve got to answer the questions,” Levine replied.

“I’m not,” Schmidt said.

According to the Daily Beast, Schmidt threatened legal action against the studio if they aired the interview, and offered to buy the episode when he was rebuffed. The episode is now live, so apparently the studio DNGAF.

In a comment to the Beast, Schmidt explained: “My objection is not on a tough question. It’s the surreality of having a podcast hijacked from me. Until this recording, I had always thought this was Elise’s and my podcast.”

Listen to the end of the podcast above, and the full episode here.

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Editor of Mediaite. Send tips via email: Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin