- Michael Avenatti, the lawyer known to needle President Donald Trump on social media and on TV, says he may run against Trump as a Democrat in the 2020 presidential election.
- Avenatti first gave that information to the Des Moines Register newspaper on Thursday. He was in the Iowa state capital with several other presidential hopefuls getting a head start on the next race to the White House.
- “I wanted to come to Iowa and listen to people and learn about some issues that are facing the citizens of Iowa and do my homework,” Avenatti told The Des Moines Register.
- Avenatti has never held public office before and has no known experience in politics. He made clear he’s only exploring a potential 2020 run but said that he thought Democrats had “yearned for a fighter” and that he thought he fit the bill.
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for the adult-film star Stormy Daniels who has been a frequent, public thorn in President Donald Trump’s side, wants you to know he’s thinking about a career change.
“I’m exploring a run for the presidency of the United States,” Avenatti told the Des Moines Register newspaper on Thursday, “and I wanted to come to Iowa and listen to people and learn about some issues that are facing the citizens of Iowa and do my homework.”
Avenatti has secured a place in the national spotlight over the past few months by taking up Daniels’ cause, often in TV interviews. The actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is Avenatti’s highest-profile client. She is suing Trump over a $130,000 nondisclosure agreement she signed to keep quiet about an affair she said she had with him in 2006.
As part of the proceedings in that case, and multiple subplots involving Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen and others, Avenatti has become a mainstay on cable news and a frequent agitator of Trump and everyone in the president’s orbit on social media.
But Avenatti has never held public office, and he has no known experience in politics. He responded to one person on Twitter late Thursday who said “that’s the problem with the current occupant of the White House.”
“That is NOT the problem with Mr. Trump,” Avenatti replied. “It has NOTHING to do with inexperience. It has everything to do with his ego and a lack of intelligence, empathy, and compassion, coupled with his inability/refusal to listen to others and surround himself with highly qualified people.”
While he is entertaining Democratic Party luminaries and other hopefuls in Iowa – the state where the presidential nomination contest begins – he told The Des Moines Register he thought that, above anything else, what the party needed in 2020 was a “fighter.”
“I think the party has yearned for a fighter – a fighter for good, if you will – for a significant period of time,” Avenatti said.
“And for many, I’m probably seen as that individual.”