Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban expressed interest in serving as President Donald Trump’s “entrepreneurial czar” in a recent exchange with Business Insider following the disbanding of the president’s two business councils.
Cuban said he would “put America first” if Trump allowed him to have a “Gary Cohn level of autonomy” to work on issues of importance to entrepreneurs with the White House.
“I would put aside my personal feelings about Donald Trump if I were put in a position to help entrepreneurs,” he said in an email to Business Insider. “I wouldn’t go on a council. I wouldn’t do a kiss the ring type cabinet meting or be a prop. I wouldn’t change my positions or apologize for anything I said.”
Cuban said entrepreneurs are “not being represented in the government right now.”
“And that hurts employment and the ability of entrepreneurs throughout the country to achieve the American dream,” he said. ” I think emerging technologies like [Artificial Intelligence] will have a significant impact on our country and I think I can offer some help bringing in smart people who can prepare our country for the impact on entrepreneurs and employment.”
While Cuban acknowledged that Trump “may have zero interest in this,” he said that if the arrangement could “work for the president, it can work for me.”
Cuban, the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” made the comments after Trump ended of the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative and the Strategic and Policy Forum.
On Wednesday, with CEOs exiting the councils en masse following Trump’s response to the violence at white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend, the president tweeted he was ending both. The members of the Strategic and Policy Forum planned to announce its disbanding in a statement, but Trump published his tweet before they could do so, The New York Times reported.
Cuban said it was “no surprise” that CEOs began to abandon the councils after Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville incident, calling it “an obvious business decision” as the CEOs saw that “more downside was far more certain than upside.”
“It’s not like it was obvious there wouldn’t be future incidents,” Cuban said. “Of course there will be.”
Departures from the councils began with Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier leaving the manufacturing council on Monday, setting off a wave of departures. Frazier and other business leaders cited Trump’s response to the Charlottesville violence, during which a white supremacist rammed his car into a group of counterprotesters, killing one person and injuring roughly 20 more. Trump initially attacked the executives who departed, calling them “grandstanders.”
Trump first blamed “many sides” for the violence before on Monday condemning the racist movements that gathered to rally against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. But during a Tuesday press conference at Trump Tower that was supposed to focus on infrastructure, Trump reverted to his earlier position, claiming that the “alt-left” was at least partially responsible for the violence as well and wondering whether the counterprotesters have any “semblance of guilt.”
A day later, the councils were disbanded.