It’s widely known that one of the strategies Hillary Clinton is likely to use in her debates against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is to try to goad the notoriously thin-skinned billionaire into anger or overreaction in front of a national television audience. But most people had assumed she would be doing it on her own. Turns out she may have a little help during the event at Hofstra University Monday night.
The campaign has invited Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and, like Trump, a veteran of reality television, to take one of the front row seats at the event.
The move is plainly a direct poke at Trump’s ego. Cuban, a self-made billionaire whose net worth, unlike Trump’s, is not in dispute, has become a vocal and highly visible critic of Trump. Among other things, he has questioned Trump’s status as a self-proclaimed genius of the business world and has suggested that Trump is not worth as much money as he claims to be.
While Cuban will not be able to ride debate moderator Lester Holt the way he does referees at Mavericks games, his presence in the front row Monday will be just one of many minor irritations that Clinton’s team hopes will combine to knock Trump off his stride.
Interestingly, Cuban supported Trump in the early part of his presidential run, but became disillusioned, he said, after he decided that the GOP nominee was not educating himself on the issues a president has to address.
“He doesn’t do the work,” Cuban said in an appearance on the Tonight Show in July. “He’s lazy.”
Since then, Cuban has become a staunch member of the #NeverTrump movement. On Twitter Thursday night, he predicted that Clinton will “overwhelm” Trump in the contest, referring to it as the “Humbling at Hofstra.”