Howard Schultz won't say if he would sell his Starbucks stock if he became U.S. president

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Former Starbuck CEO Howard Schultz | Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

(CNN) — Howard Schultz on Tuesday wouldn't commit to selling off his Starbucks shares if he were elected as U.S. president in 2020.

When asked by CNN's Poppy Harlow if Schultz would sell all of his shares in Starbucks if he won the presidency, the billionaire former CEO of the coffee company said, "Well I think we're getting way premature. This is my third week since 60 Minutes," referring to the TV program on which he announced he was seriously thinking of running for President on in January.

After being pressed by Harlow, Schultz said, "I will do nothing whatsoever to have any conflict of interest between my investments overall or my interest in the company that I love because I will put the role and responsibility and the accountability for results first if I run for president and I am fortunate enough to win. And that is a promise I make to the American people."

By avoiding giving a direct answer to the question, Schultz could invite a comparison between the former CEO and President Donald Trump, a man from whom Schultz has spent much of his time in the political spotlight differentiating himself.

Presidents have typically divested themselves from their financial holdings upon taking office and put their assets into a blind trust, but Trump -- entering office directly from running the Trump Organization -- did not follow that tradition. Before Trump took office, his lawyers promised the President was "completely isolating himself" from his business.

But while Trump technically handed over control of his interests to his sons through a trust, he can take cash payments from the business at any time.

The President also notably has not released his tax returns, something Schultz has promised to do if he decides to run.

Schultz insisted he wasn't trying to avoid the question.

"I think there's multiple ways to do this. No, no, I'm not evading the question. There's multiple ways to do this, set up a blind trust, do lots of things to remove any conflict of interest," he said.

This story has been updated.

This story was first published on CNN.com, "Howard Schultz won't say if he would sell his Starbucks stock if he became president."