Former White House strategist Stephen Bannon is encouraging another billionaire businessman to run for the White House — as a Democrat.
Bannon, who is back in his old role at right wing news site Breitbart, has spoken to Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban several times about the possibility of running for president in 2020, the Daily Beast reported on Friday.
The “Shark Tank” star and Hillary Clinton supporter has openly mulled such a bid, but Bannon’s backing of Cuban as a Democrat adds a layer of intrigue to the pair’s relationship.
“They talk regularly,” Sam Nunberg, a former Trump adviser and Bannon ally told the Daily Beast. “They’re very similar. They have a lot of synergy there. Even when (Steve) went to work for Trump, Mark would be interviewed and say nice things about Steve.”
Cuban, who sat down with Bannon at the St. Regis Hotel in Midtown weeks after Trump’s election win, said the pair have exchanged texts, but nothing “more than a full sentence.”
Bannon, who has been criticized for his ties to the alt-right and white nationalist movements, has implied that his former boss may not seek a second term, according to Vanity Fair.
On Thursday, Cuban spoke at The New York Times DealBook Conference and said that if he ran for president, it would be as a “Republican before Democrat, and most likely independent.”
Earlier in the month, he told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday that he was “thinking (about it) quite a bit. Would I do it? Right now I say it is 10%.”
“What holds me back more than anything is my family,” he added.
Trump dismissed the idea of the rival mogul making a play for the Oval Office in February.
“I know Mark Cuban well. He backed me big-time but I wasn’t interested in taking all of his calls. He’s not smart enough to run for president!” he tweeted.
Cuban has been a vocal critic of Trump since the President started his unlikely campaign in 2015.
The 59-year-old frequently derides Trump as clueless, stupid and ignorant, but has praised Bannon as “smart” and said he’s done business with the alt-right darling.
“Steve Bannon is smart. Far far smarter than Trump. Trump lives in the moment. Steve will have a plan,” Cuban tweeted last year during the campaign.
Bannon, an economic nationalist and far right conservative, has openly vowed to disrupt the Republican establishment. Last month, he declared a “season of war” against GOP lawmakers who oppose Trump.
“Right now it’s a season of war against the GOP establishment,” Bannon said at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, an annual conference of evangelical conservatives.
Running Cuban as a Democrat could be his way of shaking up both sides of the aisle.
“I think he has a lot of potential for 2020, assuming that the president doesn’t run for re-election,” Nunberg said.