Mark Cuban: C'mon, is Trump really a billionaire?

Via BuzzFeed. Given Trump’s media ubiquity and his decades-long brand management as the ultimate wealthy playboy, I would have guessed that in a sample of 100 Americans asked to name a billionaire at random, something like 60-70 would name him. He claims a net worth of no less than $10 billion, a nice round memorable number designed to impress upon the audience how staggering his fortune is. If this Morning Consult poll is right, though, just 43 percent guesstimate his net worth at $1 billion or higher.


On the other hand, nearly 10 percent think he’s worth $50 billion(!) or more. Maybe they’re confusing him with his friendly acquaintance Vladimir?

A Twitter pal describes Cuban’s trolling of Trump here as his version of “show us the birth certificate.” Heh. He’s so effective, in fact, that I wonder if Hillary won’t end up reaching out to him, not as a potential VP but as some sort of unofficial surrogate tasked with undermining Trump’s alpha shtick going forward. Traditional politicians tend to come off weak against Trump, either because they’re viewed as comparatively inauthentic (Cruz) or as comparatively beta (Bush). Hillary has both problems. Cuban has neither of them. His media reach isn’t as long as Trump’s — no one’s is — but it’s plenty long thanks to “Shark Tank.” That show does for his image what “The Apprentice” has done for Trump’s, showing him off as the wildly successful alpha-male rich guy who got where he is by telling losers to their faces that they’re not hacking it. (That’s sort of what Cuban’s doing in the clips below to Trump, in fact.) He always had a reputation for candor in interviews, sometimes to a fault, but “Shark Tank” enhanced that by giving him a visible platform to be brutally frank with fledgling business owners, which gives him a Trumpian air of authenticity. And beyond all that, like Trump himself, the guy’s just a plain good talker. The media loves him because he delivers quality soundbites. Marvel at how efficient this takedown is:

“I think he’s good at real estate; I do give him a lot of credit there. I think he’s good at branding real estate,” he said. “I don’t think he’s very good at brands for non–real estate products. And, to me, it’s more a reflection of desperation.

“So when you’re putting your name on steaks, and you’re putting your name on water, you’re putting your name on playing cards, you’re putting your name on all this nonsense, right? You’re not gonna make big bucks, no matter what. It’s not like Trump Steaks were gonna make him $100 million. It’s not like it was gonna make him $5 million.”

“I asked, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ Are you that desperate for money?’”

Neither Rubio nor Cruz ever landed a gut-punch that heavy on Trump at the debates, although in fairness they really weren’t positioned to. If they had tried, Trump would have turned to them and said, maybe not incorrectly, “I’m worth more than you could make in 10 lifetimes.” Can’t pull that on Cuban. No wonder he didn’t fire back on Twitter yesterday afternoon as this audio was circulating on social media. Frankly, if he does engage, Cuban will probably come back harder, making a stink about why Trump reportedly won’t pay to run ads until his joint fundraising venture with the RNC gets going this summer and wondering about how much business Trump’s properties have lost due to the campaign. But maybe Trump can’t resist answering. It’s one thing to call him a con artist, it’s another to suggest that he’s not as alpha as he claims. That hits him where he lives.