Avenatti's actions on potential presidential run speak louder than his words

Michael Avenatti, the boisterous lawyer who has risen to national fame in recent months by publicly pesterin...

Posted: Aug 20, 2018 6:58 AM
Updated: Aug 20, 2018 6:58 AM

Michael Avenatti, the boisterous lawyer who has risen to national fame in recent months by publicly pestering Donald Trump, will continue his public flirtations with running for President in 2020 by headlining two more Democratic Party events this weekend, sources tell CNN.

Avenatti's near constant presence at Democratic events over the last two weeks has caused some Democrats to reconsider their belief that the lawyer's run is a publicity stunt aimed at annoying the President.

Accidents, disasters and safety

Donald Trump

Elections and campaigns

Fires

Government and public administration

Michael Avenatti

Michael Dukakis

Misc people

Political candidates

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

US Democratic Party

US political parties

Elections (by type)

US Federal elections

US Presidential elections

2020 Presidential election

Continents and regions

Iowa

Midwestern United States

North America

The Americas

United States

Government organizations - US

US Congress

US House of Representatives

But if he's challenged, he's been quick to shoot back even if it's a Democrat.

On Saturday, Avenatti spoke at the Hillsborough County Democrats' Kennedy King Dinner in Florida.

"It was a great event. The reception was flattering and the people are energized." Avenatti told CNN.

After each speech, he has been asked to speak at more Democratic functions. He will follow up that appearance on Sunday -- after an early morning flight -- by appearing at "Hillsborough County Democrat's Summer Picnic" in New Hampshire, a crucial state for presidential contenders.

Avenatti has said he is attending the events to talk to voters and listen to their concerns, but his actions speak louder than his words and Democrats close to the lawyer believe he is now seriously considering a 2020 run. Avenatti is shy about little, including the reasons behind this latest trip, his fifth in two weeks.

"Obviously, New Hampshire is the second state that ultimately picks a Democratic nominee. In the event I were to run, it's important to be there," he told CNN.

Avenatti has made two trips to Ohio in as many weeks, where he met with David Betras, the chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party, and had dinner with Rep. Tim Ryan, another possible 2020 Democratic contender who represents Youngstown.

"I think he is a phenomenal guy and I have gotten to know him a bit in the last week. We went to dinner last week, he was in Youngstown and I really like him," Ryan told CNN after commending Avenatti's work against Trump over the last few months.

The lawyer also made a trip to meet with Democratic officials in Pennsylvania before traveling to Iowa for the state fair, followed by a speaking slot at the 15th Annual Wing Ding fundraiser in Clear Lake, Iowa, where his fierce rhetoric was met with applause.

"When they go low, I say, we hit harder," he said to a crowd of die-hard Iowa Democrats, a play on a phrase made famous by then-first lady Michelle Obama during the 2016 campaign in which her advice was to "go high."

The Wing Ding has long been a fundraiser where Democratic presidential hopefuls have tested their message with the kind of Iowa Democrats who make up the backbone of any presidential run. Hosted in the Surf Ballroom, the site of Buddy Holly's last performance before his plane crashed nearby on "The Day The Music Died," it is a quintessential Iowa event. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both spoke at the event as candidate in 2015.

Maryland Democratic Rep. John Delaney has already announced his 2020 presidential bid. On Friday, he took a swipe at Avenatti the same day Avenatti headlined a high-profile Florida fundraiser, calling a local Iowa newspaper's story written about the congressman "a good story about what's actually happening in Iowa - not a story the national media would write because they are too busy chasing the latest cable news circus act."

Avenatti responded, albeit indirectly, via Twitter.

"New rule - any Dem candidate for president that whines about not getting enough press coverage or about other candidates getting too much coverage, should be immediately eliminated. We cannot be a party of whiners and hope to win what we need to win. #Basta."

California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, who is mulling a 2020 presidential run, also took a shot at Avenatti in Iowa last week, saying that he thinks Avenatti is "an effective lawyer for his client. But I think we also need experience."

After a Twitter user attempted to defend Swalwell as "one of the good ones," Avenatti told them, "Get your facts straight before weighing in please." Avenatti tells CNN the tweet wasn't directed at Swalwell.

Avenatti is not necessarily new to politics.

"He lit the fire for me..."

Avenatti says his interest in politics began in high school in the late 1980s.

"I had a history teacher who was a former Vietnam veteran who had served multiple tours on the ground in Vietnam who was very passionate about politics," he said. "He lit the fire for me as it relates to politics."

He eventually started working on campaigns, two at the same time, he says.

"I worked on two campaigns at the same time: Congressman Dick Gephardt's and a county executive race for George 'Buzz' Westfall," he said.

He says he did everything from media relations to opposition research for more than 150 campaigns in 42 states, 90 percent of which was for Democrats. Then he says he walked away a bit disillusioned at having been exposed to the underbelly of politics.

Now he's thinking about jumping back into politics with fresh eyes after decades of work as an attorney, one that ended up suing the President on behalf of a porn star. His reason for his renewed fire for politics is simple: President Donald Trump.

Avenatti's mantra so far is to fight fire with fire. He is convinced that whoever runs against Trump has to do that or they won't have a chance.

"What I mean is that the Democratic Party has generally been a party of pacifists," he said. "If you look at the '88 presidential campaign, Michael Dukakis got his butt kicked by Lee Atwater (George H. W. Bush's campaign manager at the time) partly due to an attack ad involving a man named Willie Horton.

"Dukakis could have fought back, but he did not want to engage in a negative campaign and suffered the consequences for it."

He says there is no room for anything but a fight in 2020, and that if he runs, that is exactly what he will do.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
Marshall18361304
Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
Oxford
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 75°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 72°
Clear cool and dry to begin your weekend, but both afternoons should be a little bit above what we expect for this time of year temperature wise. Rain chances begin to return late Sunday night, with at least two chances for storms over the next week, summer could be strong.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather