The billionaire that loves to talk has been a presence on cable news since the coronavirus pandemic began. Mark Cuban represents his billionaire brethren, sports fans, small business owners, and those who use and believe in common sense and logic. His opinions run the gamut. From the health of suffering businesses to sports leagues, and last night on Sean Hannity, Donald Trump was the recipient of his logical sensibilities.
What did he say?
“This is what really bothers me about the president. He is the most powerful man in the world and he always plays the victim card. You’ve got to be the leader. You’ve got to be the strongest man in the game, and he just hasn’t shown that strength.” (Mark Cuban)
When Sean Hannity pushed back with his Obamagate drivel, Cuban said, “Who cares? He’s the most powerful man in the world. Be powerful. Be a leader. He’s supposed to be the world’s best counterpuncher. He hasn’t been able to knock anybody out. He just plays the victim.”
If you didn’t know any better, you would think Mark Cuban was angling to evict Donald Trump from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and replace Trump with…himself. You’d be half right. Cuban hasn’t ruled out a presidential run but it seems more media-driven than Cuban actually wanting to replace Donald J. But that hasn’t kept him from putting the current president on blast.
On Hannity, Cuban derided Trump as a leader. “I think that Donald doesn’t put the best people in place any longer. He did at the beginning and I was proud of him at the beginning but now he just wants people who are loyal to him. That’s a problem and it’s created more problems in this pandemic.”
Cuban himself was loyal. He was loyal to Dirk Nowitzki. He’s been loyal to Rick Carlisle. Loyalty is a value in business but there is a dark side when it gets in the way of competency. You need to have smart people in the room who disagree with you and who are not your friends. You have to be open to multiple perspectives even if you stick with your gut opinion.
Cuban told graduates in 2019 to find a job that pays them to learn. People who love to learn, and adopt new perspectives, and embrace modernity, and aren’t fixated on being right all of the time find the road to success is at their fingertips.
Donald Trump though is struggling to find messaging that will work. The bleach message was a failure. The hydroxycholoroquine regimen was ridiculed. Re-opening cities is met with skepticism as people are still cautious about getting sick. He has yet to demonstrate empathy for the near 100,000 dead, nor for the families in grief.
Just because Cuban has lost all his optimism about Donald Trump, it’s not because he’s in the Joe Biden camp either. He told Hannity, “both sides scare me. I’m not going to lie. Joe Biden scares me in some areas and President Trump scares me in more areas right now.” The tech billionaire doesn’t necessarily want an elite tech literati in the White House. But can you please embrace robotics, personalized medicine, and artificial intelligence?
Both Biden and Trump are in their ‘70s and are hardly competent in cutting edge technology. But that’s not the point either. You don’t have to be competent in tech. You have to embrace it, understand its purpose, have a vision for its use, then hire professionals who can expound and realize the vision.
For example, Columbia University published estimates that social distancing practiced a week earlier than its inception would have saved 36,000 lives. A more tech-savvy leader would have used his tech team to create models as soon as the virus hit China. Trump could have prepared the nation for what was coming in a worst-case scenario. But he dawdled and ignored and pretended it wasn’t a thing.
Cuban isn’t known for imaginary thinking. He was the first to protect hourly workers and it forced the hands of other NBA owners. Although it’s just in the proposal phase, Cuban has a plan for the hiring of millions of contract tracers. It would boost the government workforce and help scientists track coronavirus as it moves from place to place.
Cuban has been an advocate for minority and women business owners. He wants to make sure they get the amount of PPP (Payroll Protection Program) they asked for. Just 12% of Latino and African American business owners have received what they requested.
He also wants the administration to send regular stimulus checks. That’s not going to happen in a Republican-majority Senate. Cuban wants the administration to admit PPP has failed only because you can’t make people go into a business and buy if they don’t feel safe. Safety is the key to everything. A grand reopening doesn’t matter if people fear getting sick.
And people still fear getting sick.
You can bet your last dollar though that Mark Cuban will have something to say about that all summer long.