Billionaire businessman and investor Mark Cuban, who earlier this week questioned Donald Trump's billionaire status, told BuzzFeed News in a subsequent interview that Trump would be a "puppet president" and called the presumptive nominee out for his tendency to lie.
"From what I see today, I think he would be a puppet president," Cuban said in an email. "He would be so dependent on everyone around him because of his lack of depth of knowledge and fear of failing, that the quality would be completely dependent on two things: One, what stresses does he run into his first year, two, who does he place around him. He isn't a problem solver. He will be completely dependent on those around him. And he isn't good at hiring either. That's why he puts family (and he gets credit for having such smart, accomplished kids) in so many important positions. That's not feasible here.
"So if he places the wrong people around him and he is incapable of solving problems, we could see some crazy things happen as Republicans distance themselves and Democrats attack," he continued. "On the flip side, if he gets the right people in place, we may not know he is there and the Republicans tell him what to do and he does it."
Last July, Cuban called Trump "probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time," citing his tell-it-like-it-is attitude and willingness to speak his mind rather than deliver canned political answers. Cuban said he stands by part of that assessment today.
"I love the fact that he wasn't a traditional politician and he shook up politics," Cuban said "Hate the fact that he hasn't taken learning what's needed seriously enough, and he appears to never to have met a lie he didn't love."
Cuban and Trump have a bit of a history of taunting one another dating back to the mid-2000s, when they each had similar television shows airing on rival networks. Trump has called Cuban unattractive, said he had a bad television show, had no-personality, called him a "total loser" on Howard Stern who could never date his daughter, and even said he couldn't pick between having his daughter date Cuban or Osama Bin Laden.
Cuban said he had no hard feelings over Trump's repeated disses of him.
"Business is business," said Cuban, "that's one of the things I like about Donald. He can mix it up and then move on. That's actually a positive quality he has."
"I like the guy. He is just fun to pick on because he is so thin-skinned."
Cuban said Trump was "morally good" but lacked any self-awareness. "I think he tries to be nice," he said. "But he has absolutely zero self awareness. None. Zip. So we see the public Donald Trump , the candidate, as being different than the in-person Donald Trump."
Cuban added that the presidency isn't something Trump can brand. "Donald is trying to brand the presidency with what he sees himself as and what he thinks people want. This is a position where you don't bring a brand, the brand comes to you based on your results," he said.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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