Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz may be a billionaire, but he doesn’t really like the term.
In fact, he prefers “people of means.”
Schultz attempted to make the semantic distinction Monday night at a book event hosted by CNBC host and New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin.
In a question relayed by Sorkin, Schultz was asked if he thought billionaires had too much power in America, and he replied:
The moniker “billionaire” now has become the catchphrase. I would rephrase that and say that “people of means” have been able to leverage their wealth and their interest in ways that are unfair, and I think that speaks to the inequality but it also speaks to the special interests that are paid for people of wealth and corporations who are looking for influence.
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) February 4, 2019
It didn’t look like Schultz noticed the irony that he is a billionaire ― sorry, person of wealth ― who is able to leverage his own wealth into becoming a possible presidential contender despite having no political experience.
However, Twitter users did, and the clap-back was rich.
“Howard Schultz for the people of wealth” sounds like a horrible campaign slogan https://t.co/SL4zdSYeLa
— Richard Fudge (@richardfudgeart) February 5, 2019
🙄🙄 poor guy is called a billionaire 🙄🙄🙄 and his feelings are hurt? Not even first world problems... smh pic.twitter.com/Y17krdYmXu
— Savory (@heysavory) February 5, 2019
If Howard Schultz doesn’t want to be called a billionaire, there’s an easy solution for that https://t.co/vjbZQ3V3UU
— bs (@bart_smith) February 5, 2019
Every time Howard Schultz says something egregiously stupid or jaw-droppingly tone deaf, I feel we should up the percentage rate on the proposed progressive tax. https://t.co/jrzOTRuEY3
— Alice Venturi (@AliceVincit) February 5, 2019
Some Twitter users offered alternative euphemisms that might be more suitable substitutes for “billionaires.”
I prefer ‘wealth extractors’
— Greg Emetaz - #GreenNewDeal or 🌍🔥💀👻 (@emetaz) February 5, 2019
— jon rosenberg 🌮 (@jonrosenberg) February 5, 2019
— Fate/Zero Job Offers (@mumbly_joe) February 5, 2019
Some were sympathetic to Schultz’s plight.
Hey guys, please be nicer to “people of means”, they’ve never gotten a fair shake in this country 🤦♂️ https://t.co/X6n7hfS1oO
— J.P. Joyce (@JPJoyce10) February 5, 2019
🙏Thank you Howard Schultz for calling out the dehumanising label ‘billionaire’ applied to people merely for causing vast swaths of the world to live in absolute, crushing misery. I vow to do better 🙏 https://t.co/qFLqF46i2z
— Donald Rhodes (@djbrhodes) February 5, 2019
But one person offered a different but also very appropriate euphemism for Schultz’s fellow citizens.
Yes and Americans should be referred to as “people who don’t want Howard Schultz to be president” https://t.co/l9oomimwNW
— Sam Sharma (@s3rioussam) February 5, 2019
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.