How Do Hillary Clinton & Mark Cuban Know Each Other? Bill Is The Connecting Link

Hillary Clinton has given Mark Cuban a front row ticket to Monday’s presidential debate, the Shark Tank host announced on Twitter earlier this week. Clinton is clearly attempting to rattle Donald Trump: Cuban is a chief antagonizer of his fellow billionaire* and reality TV show host. But the invitation raised a more basic question: How do Clinton and Cuban know each other?

If the two have any sort of substantive relationship, they’ve been quiet about it, and it’s unclear how they first met. Cuban does, however, have a relationship with Bill Clinton that’s a bit more well-documented.

In 2013, the Dallas Mavericks owner went to an NBA game with the former president, and remarked afterwards that Bill’s level enthusiasm for the game “puts me to shame.” More significantly, Cuban has spoken at the Clinton Global Initiative and attended several of the group’s conferences. After it was reported the two had dinner at a small gathering earlier this year, an aide remarked that Bill and Cuban “know each other well."

For much of this campaign cycle, it was unclear which candidate Cuban would throw his support behind. In June of 2015, Cuban said that Trump’s entry into the presidential race was “probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long long time,” and even entertained the notion of being Trump’s running mate if offered.

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Alas, there is some long-standing bad blood between the two men, and as the campaign progressed, Cuban ultimately turned on Trump and endorsed Clinton for president.

It seems obvious that Clinton, by inviting a long-time Trump adversary to sit front row at the debates, is trying to spook her opponent. It’s anybody’s guess as to whether it will work, but Cuban is in somewhat of a unique position as a Trump critic, simply because the two men have such similar backstories as rich and high-profile reality TV show hosts.

Trump, in classic form, responded to the news by threatening to invite Gennifer Flowers, a woman with whom Bill allegedly had an affair decades ago, to attend the debate as his guest. This turned out to be an toothless threat, however: Flowers accepted the apparent invitation, but the Trump campaign then backpedaled and explained that, well, Trump wasn’t really inviting Flowers to the debate after all. Sad!

*Neither Trump nor Cuban have released their tax returns, thus making it impossible to assess the true net worth of either man.