TMZ founder Harvey Levin said that Mark Cuban talked to him openly about his presidential ambitions and teased what party he’d join if he decided to run against President Donald Trump in 2020.
Cuban is slated to appear later this year on Levin’s new Sunday Fox News show “OBJECTified,” an hour-long interview show in which Levin interviews celebrities and political figures about their biographies.
In an interview with Business Insider on Tuesday, Levin said that the billionaire business mogul seemed interested in a future presidential bid.
“I definitely think there’s a chance he’s going to run for president,” Levin said in a telephone interview. “I think he would be a fascinating candidate.”
The founder of the celebrity news site hinted that Cuban announced on his show what his party affiliation will be if he does decide to run.
“I’m not going to give the show away, but he does tell me,” Levin said. “And he’s very open about it too, I mean he was very open about what he may or may not do.”
A longtime political independent, Cuban has previously said that he would prefer to be a small-government Republican, but that he does not agree with the party on social issues. He has praised the Affordable Care Act and other Democratic priorities.
And though he once largely avoided discussing political topics, the 2016 election marked a political turning point for the Dallas Mavericks owner, who was highly critical of Trump and stumped for his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Cuban has discussed his political future with his family and has been fairly open about his presidential aspirations, appearing on political talk shows, debating public education with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in Manhattan earlier this year, and speculating about his proposed policy solutions “if I ran.”
For his part, since the “OBJECTified” special first aired on Fox last year, Levin has been a source of criticism, particularly over his alleged coziness with the current administration.
Former communications director Anthony Scaramucci is set to host “TMZ Live” for a day later this month, and Think Progress reported earlier this year that Levin is personally involved in stories that cast Trump in a sympathetic light. Levin reportedly talks to the president regularly.
Levin dismissed critics of his reporting and interviewing style, and said he doesn’t think he’s spoken with Trump since their March meeting at the White House.
“People will criticise all sorts of things,” Levin said. “I don’t see us as pro-Trump at all. If you watch TMZ at all, there is a chorus of people who are not happy with him and voice it. And I’ve got huge issues myself with some of the things that have happened over the last six months or nine months.”
“I don’t have an agenda to keep somebody in office or to kill them,” he added. “That’s just not the mission statement here.”
Others have been satisfied with Levin’s performance.
In an email with Business Insider, Cuban himself teased his interview with the TMZ founder, and praised Levin’s interview style.
“Harvey does a great job,” Cuban said to Business Insider in an email. “The questions weren’t the same old same old. He offered insights that led to some great conversation.”
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