Attorney, Trump antagonist and potential 2020 presidential candidate Michael Avenatti looks and sounds like a candidate, though he says he’s yet to decide on whether he’ll take on the president. Avenatti says politics as usual won’t do under what he calls a “new normalcy.”
The man who represents Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against Donald J. Trump and Michael Cohen says Democrats will fail if they turn to the standard stable of candidates to unseat Trump.
“Donald Trump is not to be underestimated. He defeated 16 or 17 qualified politicians, and if the Democrats nominate someone very similar to the preceding 16 or 17 individuals, the same result is going to occur in 2020,” Avenatti said.
“No one was ever more qualified than Hillary Rodham Clinton. Incredibly intelligent. Very deep on policy. Would have made an exceptional president. But guess what? It doesn’t matter at this point because she wasn’t able to beat Donald Trump.”
For that reason, Avenatti says Democrats must focus not on the person who would make the best president, but the person most capable of defeating Trump.
Avenatti says his conviction is not tantamount to throwing in the towel on the democracy he says he seeks to save. But the man whose motto is “when they go low, we hit harder” stops short of predicting a rapid return to the days when the best-qualified candidate generally prevailed over the scrappiest fighter.
“I think to a certain degree we’ve ushered in a new normalcy,” Avenatti said.
Avenatti, who has a detailed outline of his positions on his Twitter feed, says he hasn’t decided if he’s running. For now, he’s in fact-finding mode, and it’s no coincidence his travels are taking him to early primary states.
“I’ve gotten an incredible response in a couple trips to Iowa, a trip to New Hampshire, Florida, couple trips to Ohio. Appears people are positive here in Nevada,” he said.
“I believe we are in an unprecedented position,” Avenatti told a group of Las Vegans invited to hear him speak Friday at Battle Born Progress of Nevada, a non-profit advocating for progressive policies. “There’s too much at stake for us to be gracious. The principles and values are too important.” Avenatti warned a 2020 victory by Trump or Vice President Mike Pence would roll back progress on reproductive rights, LGBTQ equality and immigration.
He called the separation of immigrant children and parents the “results of the Draconian policies of Donald Trump and Stephen Miller, who sought to send a message to the rest of the world not to come to the United States of America or we would steal your children from you and destroy your family.”
He chided Trump for the president’s inability to reunite hundreds of children with their parents, some of whom have been deported. And he said everyone, regardless of political affiliation, should be infuriated by reports from the Associated Press that three children from El Salvador were sexually molested while in American custody.
“Donald Trump wants to talk about what a dealmaker he is, how he’s the guy who can get things done. Well, where is he? How difficult is it to reunite 500 children with their parents? It’s not that difficult if you actually have a will to do it. The bottom line is this administration, Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, senators like Senator (Dean) Heller, they don’t want to get it done. They want to send a message to the rest of the world not to come to the United States or this is going to happen to you, too.”
“What has been done by the Congress, and in particular by Mr. Heller, in connection with this? Not much. Again, where are the Republicans, where is the leadership in Congress as it relates to check and balance on Mr. Miller and Mr. Trump?” Avenatti asked the gathering.
“Senator Heller and others need to step up and actually show some spine, some backbone, and do the right thing by way of these parents, these mothers, these fathers and these children and it needs to happen immediately. It’s an absolute disgrace that something like this would happen on U.S. soil, come to light and it still hasn’t been fixed,” said Avenatti, who represents a parent separated from a child at the border.
Though not yet a candidate, Avenatti sounds like one.
On the environment, Avenatti says Trump is ignorant and “doesn’t believe we have global warming” but says Trump “and his minions are in the pockets of big business at the expense of working people.”
He says real wages are lagging despite Trump’s penchant for putting money in the pockets of his wealthy associates. Avenatti favors an infrastructure overhaul, noting it’s been talked about, but never initiated. He says he’ll call it the “Real Deal.”
He says Brett Kavanaugh should pledge to recuse himself from any cases involving Trump before he’s confirmed by the Senate and he favors a litmus test for Kavanaugh on abortion law.
Avenatti told the Current that real wage growth is a partial answer to skyrocketing housing prices and he says the U.S. government should provide subsidies to parents who can’t afford the exorbitant cost of child care.
Those attending the gathering had high praise for Avenatti. Laura Packard, a cancer survivor, says she was impressed by Avenatti’s attention to her situation, which she says Dean Heller dismissed. Another woman who said she would not support Avenatti for president at the beginning of the event said she’d changed her mind.
“I have to say he’d make a good candidate.”
The man who looks and sounds like a candidate says he’s imposed no time limit on his potential candidacy and admits he’s encouraged by the reception thus far.
“But I really haven’t made up my mind,” he says. “It’s a big decision.”
As for Avenatti’s other business in Las Vegas — tracking down the man who allegedly threatened Daniels in a local parking lot — the attorney says he’s letting Metro police, who may have a lead or two, conduct their investigation.