Your World Cavuto

Mark Cuban: Trump dialed in on 'keep it simple, stupid'

Billionaire NBA owner on 2016 presidential race


This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," February 1, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I don't care how beautiful the wall is.  It's a big -- it's a beautiful wall.  We will build it the wall across -- the wall looks fabulous.  It will have a door in the middle of it.  And the door will open and close.  And the good people will go in and the bad people come out.  And it will be a beautiful wall and have my name on it.  Everybody will love it.  It will be a great wall.  




NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR:  All right, who knew that Christie could do such a dead- on Donald Trump impression, if you think that's a dead-on Donald Trump impression?

Welcome back, everybody.

Joined right now by another billionaire who is not in the race, at least not yet, but Mark Cuban, who has zinged his fellow billionaire, but, anyway, a lot to get into with Mark.

Mark, good to have you.

MARK CUBAN, CO-FOUNDER, HDNET:  Thanks for having me, Neil.  I'm excited about this.  

CAVUTO:  All right, when you were asked about who you like in this race, I think you had said ABC, you know, anyone but Cruz.  You're referring to Ted Cruz. So, does that mean you were open on Donald Trump?

CUBAN:  Yes, I think Donald is softening up some.  I have talked to him on the phone a couple of times, and like everybody you have had on, when you know Donald, he has kind of a different personality than what he plays on TV.  

And it's kind of don't hate the player, hate the game type situation.  But I haven't made a decision yet.  But I will consider anybody but Ted Cruz.  

CAVUTO:  What do you think is going on here with his popularity, Donald Trump's popularity?  Everyone waiting for him to stumble.  We just had a guest on very big in the evangelical community who thinks he will stumble.   He hasn't yet.  

What do you think is going on here?  

CUBAN:  I think people are sick of Washington.  People are sick of the way things work in Washington.

And from all of the candidates, we have really not seen any leadership, whether it's what they have done in their governorships or as senators, what their stated plans are as candidates.  

And the thing about Trump is, whether you like him or not, he comes across as being strong, he comes across as being a leader.  And there's something to be said that someone who gets buildings with his name built, someone who has been successful in business is able to accomplish things.

And so when you look at a list of candidates on both sides the aisle and you say, have any of them really accomplished anything, the answer is no.   And so when you look at Donald, you say, you know what?  I may not agree with his policies.  And I have said this directly to him.  

I said, Donald, I don't agree with a lot of what you're saying, but at least you're the one person that has been able to go out there and get something done and show some accomplishment in their life, and other than this bill or that bill passed or stopped.

So, I think people recognize that he has accomplished things and they're rallying behind that.  

CAVUTO:  You know, there's always talk about his passionate followers, those who show up for events, but others say they're like curiosity- seekers.  They're not going to do what they have to do in a caucus state like this, Mark, where, A, you have to know the precinct you have to go to, and then agree to stick around there for a while.

And if up to the half of the voters are first-timers doing this, they're not going to like that, and his friends or fans might not stick around.   What do you make of that?

CUBAN:  I think it's very true.  And I think it's a real possibility.  

But let me add to that.  In the NBA, we have this whole long preseason, we have the whole summer to add players, free agents, and that's very analogous to what is going on right now.

CAVUTO:  Right.  

CUBAN:  And then you play the first game of the season and it seems like it's almost a championship game because everybody has been so excited.  And there's so much buildup.

But it's the same -- it's analogous to what is going on in Iowa.  Iowa doesn't really determine who is going to win.  Iowa just really determines what the playbook's going to be for media and maybe strategically how some of the plans are going to play out for some of the candidates.

So while I agree with you that there's a real risk in a caucus environment that they turn into curious-seekers or celebrity followers and they don't follow through and give Donald a win, I don't think it matters.  

I think, if anything, it will really motivate him to be stronger elsewhere.   And then from there, it just comes down to, can he execute on his business plan, on his ground game?  

CAVUTO:  I think one thing that people miss in covering this whole thing is, they make it a right or left thing within the Republican Party, Mark, that who is more right than the other, more conservative than the other, when, in fact, given the sentiment I'm seeing out of evangelical voters, for example, I think it's an angry thing.  I think it's a get something done thing.  

CUBAN:  Absolutely.  

CAVUTO:  I don't think it's really defined by, is this candidate conservative than the other?  I think we have got this -- one thing I told my staff is, we have this big old inbox in our country that is filled with stuff that is not getting done.

People want that stuff out of that inbox and getting worked on and done.   And I don't think they're paying as much attention to the politics of the person as much as the ability to clear out that inbox and get stuff done.  

CUBAN:  Yes, I think you're exactly right.  

People are tired of labels.  That's one of the reasons I don't like Ted Cruz.  Everything he says is defined by some sort of label, whereas, with Donald, agree or disagree -- I said it right from the day he came out.  You may not like what he says, but the way he says it is forceful and powerful and will get people's attention.  And I agree with you.

CAVUTO:  But is it that simple?  The rap against him, Mark, is that he makes it seem almost too simple.  We had a bite of Chris Christie parroting, I'm going to build a wall, the Mexicans are going to pay for it, I'm going to make this country great again without spelling out exactly how he does so.

Now, he hasn't been penalized in the polls for those generalities.   Eventually, he would have to be, or at least spell them out.  Right?   

CUBAN:  Well, yes, you're right, but let's put it in context, right?

Is there anything that any candidate has said on either side that is realistic?  Tax cut plans, all nonsense, right?  Hillary is going to -- or Bernie Sanders going to pay for everybody's college.  Can't happen.  Right?  

When you look at the list of things that everybody has proposed, none of them are realistic. So, if none of them are realistic, and people don't trust the labels, then the person who is the most forceful and really the person who can come across the best way and simplify things has the best chance.  

It is the old KISS concept, keep it simple, stupid.  And I think Donald is really dialed in on that and understands it.  And he will admit it.

CAVUTO:  Let me add then to that point.  You're a pretty successful businessman, a pretty good read of markets, et cetera.  You have seen how volatile they have been this year, whether they're presaging or coming attractions for a slowdown, an outright recession.

What would it take to goose things?  Republicans, by and large, propose lower taxes.  Democrats, by and large, propose more spending.  What do you think?  

CUBAN:  I think what is missing across the board and why I haven't chosen who I'm going to vote for is that we need somebody who has leadership skills and has the ability to define what they can do.  

So, for instance, no one talks about the specifics about anything related to the economy right now.  Now, I get that it's very difficult for a president to have influence and really have a great impact on the economy, but at least come up with something.  

And Donald has not really talked about his business side at all, but either has anybody else.  And simply saying that we're going to cut taxes, that's not enough.  That's the old pabulum that everybody on the Republican side has been throwing out for years.

You have got to be more specific.  Are you going to change patent laws?   Are you going to go in and increase the number of IPOs by changing the SEC?   Are you going to go back to Glass-Steagall?  Are you going to go and make it easier to create businesses so there is less paperwork and we see an increase in entrepreneurship?

There's a thousand things that people -- that are specific that candidates could talk about them -- that candidates could talk about, but none of them do.  And I think that's part of the problem.  

CAVUTO:  You know, the singer Adele apparently got annoyed at Governor Mike Huckabee and later Donald Trump for using her songs, in the case of Huckabee, in an ad, and in the case of Trump, at any one of his rallies.  

Trump has still been playing her various songs, despite the Adele folks saying cease and desist.  What do you think of that, when an entertainer does that?  I don't know how it works at a basketball game.


CUBAN:  Yes.  

The only word is ironic, and here's why.  Because there's a rapper named Mac Miller who happens to be from Pittsburgh, where I grew up.  And he did a song called "Donald Trump," and Donald went nuts.  Sued him for including his name.  

So, look, Adele has the right to control her own songs.  She owns the copyright.  It's her deal.  So I don't have a problem with it, but I just enjoy the irony of Donald fighting back, when he fought Mac Miller.  

CAVUTO:  All right.  Well, still, Adele hasn't gotten back to me.  We wanted to get her view on this.

We know you're connected with that community.  Can you please have her call me to get to her?


CUBAN:  I will call her.  I will call her.  

CAVUTO:  Because I don't understand what is going on.  

All you have to do is pick up the phone and say hello.

CUBAN:  But I will say this one thing, though.

The parodies -- the parodies that have come out, Neil, there's nothing that she can do about those.  So, if Donald were to do a parody, like Mike Huckabee did a parody, that's all within the copyright laws.  She cannot say or do anything at all.

CAVUTO:  I would think so, too, but Huckabee stopped it.  He stopped it.   He didn't want to deal with it.


CUBAN:  He didn't have to.  Yes, he didn't have to.  

CAVUTO:  Yes.  OK.  

Mark, thank you very much for joining us.  Best of luck.  

CUBAN:  It's always fun, Neil.  I appreciate it.  And enjoy Iowa.  

CAVUTO:  All right, I will.  It's a beautiful state, Mark Cuban.

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