CHICAGO – The otherwise-quiet opening day of the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting was jolted wide awake with a late afternoon surprise visit by seemingly omnipresent lawyer Michael Avenatti.
But instead of talking about his representation of adult-film star Stormy Daniels and her legal fight against President Trump, he focused remarks to DNC members elsewhere, and answered questions from reporters about his own flirtation with a 2020 White House run.
“I’ve never understood this idea of not shooting straight with people. You [reporters] know which candidates are likely to enter the race. You know what people are doing behind the scenes. It’s no big secret in Washington or here or anywhere else. Why don’t people just come out and say, ‘Yeah, I’m seriously considering running for president.’”
No other 2020 contender is scheduled to attend the three-day meeting.
Avenatti’s visit, which he said will continue Friday, immediately followed several political events in Iowa, just the latest in a tour of local Democratic Party gatherings across the country.
The issue Avenatti addressed to members of the DNC’s Ethnic Council was the crisis of separated illegal-immigrant families. He represents several dozen families in their reunification attempts. “I don’t know about each of you, but that’s not my America. And that’s not the principles and the values upon which this nation was founded hundreds of years ago.”
Many Democrats publicly have condemned such separations, but Avenatti said there are other immigration issues that make him stand out against potential primary opponents.
He said calls by Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, for instance, to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement are misguided.
“Talking about abolishing ICE is similar to talking about abolishing the police force, and I don’t think that’s the right message, and I don’t think that’s the right position.”