Mark Cuban's relentless rattling of Donald Trump just might work

By Tierney McAfee
Updated October 05, 2016 06:19 PM
Credit: John Lamparski/Getty

The Hillary Clinton campaign will have a secret weapon at the first presidential debate on Monday – noted Trump critic and rival billionaire Mark Cuban.

The famous entrepreneur who has taken up the cause of taking down Donald Trump revealed in a tweet on Friday that he’ll be sitting front and center when the two nominees face off for the first time.

“Just got a front row seat to watch @HillaryClinton overwhelm @realDonaldTrump at the ‘Humbling at Hofstra’ on Monday,” Cuban tweeted. “It Is On !”

Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star, was invited by the Clinton campaign to sit in the front row, a Clinton aide confirmed to CNN. “He has the best seat we have access to,” the aide said, adding, “He has proven to be singularly effective in making the case against Trump and for Clinton. That is why we invited him.”

Cuban amped up his Trump-trolling last week when he offered to give $10 million to the charity of the GOP nominee’s choice if he would sit down for a four-hour grilling session on his policy plans.

“In the immortal words of YOU, ‘What do you have to lose?’ ” Cuban taunted Trump.

Cuban, who endorsed Clinton in July, has also put public pressure on Trump to release his taxes and questioned whether Trump is really as wealthy as he claims to be.

“If @realDonaldTrump were fractionally as rich as he says he is, he would write a $200mm check to propel his campaign. He doesn’t have the cash,” Cuban tweeted in June, after an FEC report revealed Trump’s campaign had just $1.3 million in the bank.

Does Donald Trump Rattle You?

Cuban seems to have a knack for getting under Trump’s skin. CNN argues it’s thanks in part to “Cuban’s status as a fellow billionaire and his public persona as a similarly brash businessman.”

In an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier this month, Cuban explained how he would go about interviewing Trump if given the opportunity. “[I would say] ‘You don’t understand the question, do you?’ ” Cuban said. “I know you guys have tried to reassert him back on the topic often, but I would get to the heart of the matter. ‘Do you understand this question?’ And then I would ask a follow up question: ‘Do you know where Aleppo is? Do you know what the issues are? Do you know what’s the history of this city and the conflict?’ ”

“If you stay with it, he will crumble,” Cuban added.

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Cuban’s technique could be a valuable tool for Clinton as well. In an article for TIME called ” How Hillary Clinton Can Defeat Donald Trump in the First Debate,” news analyst Frank Lutz, addressing the Democratic nominee, writes: “Your mission is to demonstrate that every time he talks on the global stage, his words could defile the office, embarrass the country and, yes, even provoke a war. Our polling couldn’t be clearer: If the election is a referendum on Trump, you win … Put him on trial. Rattle him. When he is challenged, he hits back. He loses control. He says dumb stuff. So push his buttons and compel him to reveal to the world that he is not qualified for the job.”