Avenatti: DNC Officials Have Given Me 'a Lot of Encouragement' to Run for President


September 30, 2018

Attorney Michael Avenatti claimed Sunday to have received a "lot of encouragement" from top officials at the Democratic National Committee to run for president in 2020.

MSNBC's Kasie Hunt concluded her interview Sunday evening with Avenatti by asking how he felt potential 2020 Democratic competitors stacked up as opposition to Trump.

"I've been traveling around the country, raising money for Democrats," he said. "I've received an incredible response, every state that I've gone to. I think I've surprised a lot of people. I've received a lot of encouragement in various states to run. I've received a lot of encouragement from the Democratic National Committee and senior leadership within the committee, frankly, to run."

"People want a fighter, and people want somebody that can actually beat Donald Trump," he added. "I don't care how much experience you have. I don't care how deep you are on policy. If you can't beat Donald Trump, you don't have any business running for the presidency of the United States in 2020, because if you can't beat Donald Trump, you go home."

It could be a crowded field, with or without Avenatti, in 2020. Other Democrats rumored to be mulling a bid include former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D.), and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

The DNC told the Free Beacon it does "not encourage or discourage" anyone who is mulling a run for the Democratic nomination.

"The DNC’s highest priority is to make sure the process for 2020 is inclusive, impartial and fair—fair in fact and fair in perception.  To that end, the DNC does not encourage or discourage anyone who is considering running for the Democratic nomination for president," spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in an email.

In spite of his lack of political experience, Avenatti said in August he was exploring a run for the White House and visited Iowa, the first caucus state and a must-visit place for presidential contenders.

Avenatti's bruising style, social media barbs against Trump and ubiquitous television presence have given him a "fighter" image in the eyes of progressives and some wary White House allies.

Avenatti burst onto the national scene in 2018 through his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels, who is suing Trump to void a non-disclosure agreement she says she signed about a sexual encounter they had in 2006.

He's currently representing Julie Swetnick, a woman who came forward last week to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of being "present" when she was gang-raped at a party in the early 1980s. She said she witnessed efforts by him to drug girls and said she saw him "line up" with other boys to take their turn with drugged women at parties. No one has corroborated her claims.

UPDATE: Monday, 1:45 P.M.: This article was updated with a statement from the DNC saying it doesn't "encourage or discourage anyone" thinking of running for the nomination, in order to be fair and impartial.