Michael Avenatti is considering a run for the White House as a Democrat against President Donald Trump if "there is no other candidate in the race that has a REAL chance at beating" the incumbent Republican in 2020.
Asked by progressive blogger Brian Krassenstein when he plans on "announcing your 2020 run," Avenatti tweeted that "we can't relive 2016," a year in which Trump bested Democrat Hillary Clinton in the electoral college.
"I love this country," Avenatti added. "Our values and our people too much to sit by while they are destroyed."
@krassenstein IF (big) he seeks re-election, I will run, but only if I think that there is no other candidate in th… https://t.co/dL7bMXbY9K— Michael Avenatti (@Michael Avenatti) 1530712954.0
Krassenstein had replied to a previous tweet by Avenatti praising Wednesday's New York Daily News cover, which depicted a clown-faced King Trump and a headline that read: "The clown who plays king can't overthrow the bedrock values this nation was founded on 242 years ago today."
I always liked the Daily News! Be clear - only a street fighter has a chance at displacing the “King.” Otherwise,… https://t.co/3RbGlbadMK— Michael Avenatti (@Michael Avenatti) 1530711211.0
Avenatti commented that "only a street fighter has a chance at displacing the 'King,'" and if no one emerges to defeat the president in the next election, "this country and its principles will be in pieces and non-recognizable."
Democrats have some emerging contenders for the 2020 race, such as Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA), Kamala Harris (CA), and Cory Booker (NJ), but concerns abound over their ability to defeat Trump.
Jason Johnson, a black political contributor for MSNBC, said on Thursday that Democrats "have to run a white guy" if they hope to win in 2020.
"2020 is not the year where the Democrats can run a woman and win," Johnson said. "2020 is not the year where Democrats can run a black person and win. They're going to have to run a white guy and it's going to be a white guy."
Former Vice President Joe Biden is currently the frontrunner among Democratic voters, with Hillary Clinton coming in second (despite Clinton having said she will not run again), according to one recent poll.
Indeed, Avenatti makes an interesting point. The 2016 election became a race to the bottom in terms of public discourse, and mounting a successful challenge to Trump, who is arguably the standard-bearer for a 'throw dirt in their eyes' brand of politics, will certainly require a candidate to possess some serious grit.
Twitter had some hilarious reactions to Avenatti's potential candidacy.
@MichaelAvenatti @krassenstein Mueller/Avenatti 2020 https://t.co/bNoXnHJN1C— ᴿealfarmacist (@ᴿealfarmacist) 1530712991.0
@MichaelAvenatti @krassenstein Avenatti/Stormy 2020 https://t.co/vTkhKQkO4w— ᴿealfarmacist (@ᴿealfarmacist) 1530713085.0
@real_farmacist @MichaelAvenatti @krassenstein A hahaha that's brilliant! I can see it— GayRobNPhx 🐱🌵☀️🌊🏳️🌈 Whistleblower (@GayRobNPhx 🐱🌵☀️🌊🏳️🌈 Whistleblower) 1530732140.0
@ushadrons @MichaelAvenatti @krassenstein He’s as good as anyone if not better.— Cathi, Quid Pro Quo is EXTORTION (@Cathi, Quid Pro Quo is EXTORTION) 1530755068.0
@BillTaff @MichaelAvenatti @krassenstein Trump is proof of the Criminal Mind and what it is capable of... I hope Avenatti eats him alive— Aria Adams... desc of #2 & #6 (@Aria Adams... desc of #2 & #6) 1530791126.0
Avenatti is one of Trump's most outspoken critics and has become a household name in recent months due to his representation of former adult film star Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels).
Clifford has sued Trump over a non-disclosure agreement she signed shortly before the 2016 election and for which she was paid $130,000 by Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, who is currently under federal criminal investigation.
Clifford alleges that she and Trump had an affair in 2006 and that the NDA is void because Trump, who appears on the document as "David Dennison," never signed it. Clifford and Avenatti claim the payment was "hush" money designed to buy Clifford's silence over their alleged trysts, which Clifford has said lasted from 2006 to "well into 2007."
The president initially denied the relationship and having any knowledge of the payment. Trump, now infamously, said on Air Force One in April he didn't know anything about the financial arrangement.
Reporter: "Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?"
Trump: "No. No. What else?"
Reporter: "Then why did Michael Cohen make those if there was no truth to her allegations?"
Trump: "Well, you’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. And you’ll have to ask Michael Cohen."
Reporter: " Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?"
Trump: "No, I don’t know. No."
In May, Trump admitted knowing about the payment, tweeting that it was Cohen who handled such matters and implied that NDAs and paying off porn stars were "very common among celebrities and people of wealth."
Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campai… https://t.co/0k9Yv6JsL8— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1525344369.0
...very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used… https://t.co/jth4OnhaEs— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1525344878.0
Clifford has also filed a lawsuit against the president for defamation of character in response to tweets in which Trump called Clifford a liar.
Trump said Clifford's account and a subsequent police sketch of a man whom Clifford claimed threatened herself and her daughter was a "total con job."
"By calling the incident a 'con job,' Mr. Trump's statement would be understood to state that Ms. Clifford was fabricating the crime and the existence of the assailant, both of which are prohibited under New York law, as well as the law of numerous other states," Avenatti wrote in the lawsuit.
Avenatti continued, accusing Trump of making the "con job" statement "with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity."
It was apparent that Mr. Trump meant to convey that Ms. Clifford is a liar, someone who should not be trusted, that her claims about the threatening encounter are false, and that she was falsely accusing the individual depicted in the sketch of committing a crime, where no crime had been committed. ... Mr. Trump made his statement either knowing it was false, had serious doubts about the truth of his statement, or made the statement with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity.
Though he lacks traditional political baggage, Avenatti does appear to be entangled in a dispute over back taxes with the IRS. Avenatti represented his former firm, Eagan Avenatti LLP, in a bankruptcy case in which the firm had agreed to pay $2.4 million in back taxes.
The federal government has asked a federal judge to order Avenatti to pay the remaining balance of $440,291 in unpaid taxes and more than $11,700 in interest.
Avenatti has said the IRS is running “a smear campaign” and that he doesn't personally owe the money.
"There's no question that these personal attacks are designed to undercut our case, and our message, and our efforts," he said. "There's no question that a lot of it is politically motivated. It's absurd frankly, it's malicious, it has nothing to do with the case."
Court documents, however, reveal Avenatti to be the “managing member and majority equity holder” of Eagan Avenatti LLP.
“The debtor and its responsible officer Michael Avenatti have deliberately made no attempts to pay the delinquent amount which they previously agreed to do by stipulation,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Najah Shariff wrote.
Avenatti and the attorneys representing the federal government are scheduled to appear in court on July 25.