Dallas — Mark Cuban isn’t a conservative. He isn’t even really a libertarian, as he sometimes claims. But he is interesting, and he just may be coming to a presidential-debate stage near you.
During an extensive interview with The Jamie Weinstein Show, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who has openly said he is considering a 2020 presidential run, expounded on many different topics. Here are 13 of the more interesting, newsworthy things to come out of the conversation:
Ted Cruz once invited Mark Cuban to dinner . . . on Valentine’s Day
Jamie Weinstein: One more question on Cruz.
Mark Cuban: Sure.
Weinstein: You’re in Texas. Have you met Cruz? Do you know Cruz? Is there something that rubbed you the wrong way . . .
Cuban: No. No, no, no. I mean, it’s just unanimously every conversation anybody has ever had about Ted Cruz was that he’s smart, they dislike him immensely, and they don’t trust him. And the one experience that I’ve had with him was when I said, “Anybody but Cruz,” in an interview and he reached out to me and wanted me to come over and have dinner. I’m like, “Okay, I’m willing to have dinner with anybody.” I literally — I’ll talk to anybody, because it helps me learn. And I was like, “When?” He was like, “February 14th.” I’m like — through his assistant, not him directly — I’m like, “That’s Valentine’s Day.” And I think it was a Sunday. He was like, “Bring your wife.” I’m like, “No.”
Why Cuban thinks there’s a “25–30 percent chance” Trump doesn’t finish his term
Weinstein: Do you think [Trump] will finish the term?
Cuban: I say there is a 25–30 percent chance he does not.
Weinstein: And why? Does he say he’s just tired of this and figures out an excuse?
Cuban: No, no, no. I think because he’s so oblivious to the rule of law and the responsibilities of the president and just understanding what’s impeachable or not. The fact that he’s oblivious to those things, he may say something without knowing that it’s an impeachable offense and just step on himself.
Cuban might run for president, but it’s not likely
Weinstein: You openly said that you were at least considering a  run. What are the odds right now that you enter the race?
Cuban: I’d say 90 percent against.
Weinstein: 90 percent against?
Cuban: Yeah, just — you’re newly married, but as a parent, in this political climate, what would you say about anybody you knew that was in politics that had children that are 8, 11, and 14 that would put them through the inevitable? It’s just — that’s bad parenting. There’s a tradeoff, country versus family. That’s why I’ll take as much time as I possibly can to see if anything changes in the political climate.
Cuban explains his mysterious relationship with Steve Bannon
Cuban: I met with [Bannon] 20 years ago. I met with him once after the election because I was just curious, and I wanted to get as much insight into Donald to find out if the experiences I had talking to him were the same and comparable with what Steve’s had. And I also wanted to learn more about him. I mean, I read everything about him like everybody else does. The fascinating thing I’ve read relative to Steve is that he likens himself to Cromwell, to King Henry VIII. And so I was just curious about all that. And since then we’ve texted, but there’s not been more than two texts that have been more than one sentence long. The last one was — we’ve never discussed candidacy at all — and the last one, because I’d said I’m working on a health-care program, and I had an animation and I sent it to him, and he said he didn’t understand it. And so, that was the last conversation we’ve had.
Weinstein: Why do you think he wants you to run and run as a Democrat?
Cuban: I have no idea. I don’t know. You know, Steve likes to be a kingmaker. He revels in the power and he leverages this — Steve is smart. First let me say this: A lot of people think, “Well, if you talk to Steve Bannon, he’s going to influence you like he’s some magician or some Geppetto that takes control.” I’m not Donald Trump, right? I have my integrity. I have my standards. I have my beliefs that are core to me. And then there’s topics that I’m always trying to learn about.
I believe in American exceptionalism. I think we need to dominate. I think we’re capable of dominating — economically, militarily, socially.
But unless we focus on the things that make us better, unless we enable people to get better, and we get smarter, it’s not going to happen. Now, you look at the inverse. What if China wins that? We already see with the TPP. We already see what’s happening in South Korea. China is not going to just push over North Korea like President Trump hopes, because the more uncertainty that Trump introduces, the more power China has throughout the East. Why wouldn’t they just hedge that to their advantage? And the same with Russia. “Oh, yeah, they’re our best friends.” Of course, they’re going to hack our election. Of course, they’re going to try to hack anything, and they’ve been doing it since the Cold War. Now they just have different tools. And we seem to be oblivious to that.
How Cuban felt when he discovered he had relatives who died in the Holocaust
Cuban: I mean, it’s heart-wrenching. It’s hard. It was painful. It’s on my mom’s side, and half of what would be my great-aunts and my great-uncles died. Anybody who’s Jewish has a base of understanding, right, of how difficult and it what it means. It helps you understand more what it means to be Jewish even in this day and age.
Two weeks, just to give you an example, two Sundays ago, there’s Max who is a Holocaust survivor who lives here in Dallas. We brought him over to my house so he could meet my children, and show his tattoo and talk about what it was like when — my oldest daughter is 14 — what was like when he was 13 and 14, and working in a camp and being transported and losing his family and how fortunate he was working in the resistance in Poland when he was a kid, you know, smuggling, and just as a contrast to the comfort. And you know, his emphasis to them was, “It can happen again if you’re not vigilant.” So it hits home. It scares me that that’s a possibility again. And I’m not relating that to Trump or suggesting in any way, but when you see individuals rise to power outside the United States, I think, more than in, that see the Holocaust as a positive, that’s a world my children are going to live in. That’s the world they are living in. That’s scary.
Would the famously casual Cuban wear a suit on the presidential debate stage? In the Oval Office?
Weinstein: If you run, would you wear a suit during the debates?
Cuban: Not a tie.
Weinstein: Not a tie? How about as president in the Oval Office?
Cuban: Probably not. John Kennedy changed the decorum when he stopped wearing a hat, right?
The last Republican presidential candidate Cuban voted for is . . .
Weinstein: Who’s the last Republican you voted for for president?
Cuban: Bush? Let’s see ’92 — I voted for George Bush in 2000, and again in 2004, yeah.
Cuban’s many billions of dollars can’t buy him more interviews with Howard Stern
Weinstein: Howard Stern.
Cuban: I like Howard.
Weinstein: Like Trump, you’ve been on the show. I think he’s the best interviewer.
Cuban: Yeah, he’s an amazing interview. I’m upset he hasn’t had me on more. Howard, if you’re listening . . .
Weinstein: You don’t think that if you wanted to go on at any time you could go on . . .
Cuban: No, I know I can’t.
Cuban: Yeah, I am not high enough up on his totem pole.
Weinstein: Has he emailed you about the presidential race or encouraged you?
Cuban: No, he’s been very clear that he stays out of politics as much as he can. Last time he emailed me was when I won [the NBA] championship [in 2011] and he congratulated me.
— Jamie Weinstein is the host of The Jamie Weinstein Show.