Michael Avenatti, attorney for adult-film actress Stormy Daniels’ and a prominent critic of President Donald Trump, announced Tuesday his family had talked him out of running for president.
In his statement Avenatti expressed how conflicted he was about the choice. The 47-year-old made it clear that his family was the only reason he was not running, not mentioning his arrest last month on suspicion of domestic violence.
"After consultation with my family and at their request, I have decided not to seek the presidency of the United States in 2020," Avenatti said. "I do not make this decision lightly – I make it out of respect for my family. But for their concerns, I would run."
He does not name specific family members in the statement. He has three children with two different ex-wives, and the woman involved in the matter that led to his arrest was his onetime girlfriend Mareli Miniutti, who obtained a restraining order against him. Los Angeles prosecutors declined to file charges in the matter, and Avenatti said the allegation was "completely bogus."
Avenatti said he would continue representing Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and "others against Donald Trump and his cronies." Avenatti added he "will not rest until Trump is removed from office and our republic and its values are restored." This comes after Daniels accused him last month of filing a defamation suit against Trump without her consent and concealing financial information from her, but the two reconciled and set their sights on opposing Trump.
In his announcement Avenatti expressed concern that his party won't nominate someone tough enough to beat Trump, echoing his prior comments that Trump can only be defeated by a "street fighter."
"I remain concerned that the Democratic Party will move toward nominating an individual who might make an exceptional President but has no chance of actually beating Donald Trump. The party must immediately recognize that many of the likely candidates are not battletested[sic] and have no real chance of winning," he said.
"We will not prevail in 2020 without a fighter. I remain hopeful the party finds one."
For many close to Avenatti, his announcement does not appear to be a surprise. Some friends have expressed concern about his wellbeing, with one telling Politico, "he’s going through a pretty rough time," and analysts noted his star was fading on cable and among Democrats.