Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, set off Independence Day fireworks on Twitter Wednesday when he declared that he would run for president in 2020 if President Trump seeks re-election and if Avenatti believes no other candidate can win.
Avenatti tweeted Wednesday morning that "only a street fighter has a chance at displacing the 'King.' Otherwise, this country and its principles will be in pieces and non-recognizable." The tweet accompanied a photograph of the New York Daily News front page featuring Trump in clown makeup and wearing a broken crown.
Avenatti answered: "IF (big) he seeks re-election, I will run, but only if I think that there is no other candidate in the race that has a REAL chance at beating him. We can't relive 2016. I love this country, our values and our people too much to sit by while they are destroyed." Both tweets were accompanied by the hashtags "#FightClub" and "#Basta", the Italian word meaning enough.
In subsequent tweets, Avenatti laid out his political philosophy. He said he was "pro-choice" and "Would never nominate a justice to the [Supreme Court] who did not believe in Roe or who would seek to outlaw same sex marriage. Fully support equality for women & people of all races, & gay rights. We don't separate families at the border. And we don't kiss-up to Putin."
In an email to Fox News, Avenatti claimed that he had been "approached by both the Republican and Democratic parties" about being a 2020 candidate.
"I am not interested in being a career politician, we already have too many of those," he added.
Daniels, aka Stephanie Clifford, has said she had sex with Trump in 2006 when he was married, which Trump has denied. She's suing Trump and the president's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, in a bid to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement that she signed days before the 2016 presidential election.
In April, FBI agents raided Cohen's home, office and hotel room as part of a probe into his business dealings and investigators were seeking records surrounding the $130,000 payment that was made to Daniels as part of a confidentiality agreement.
On Monday, an attorney for Cohen asked a federal judge in Los Angeles to issue a gag order that would prevent Avenatti from speaking with reporters and releasing information about the case to the public.
In a court filing, Brent Blakely accused Avenatti of conducting a "smear campaign" against Cohen that is "aimed at tainting the jury pool."
Avenatti has argued a gag order isn't necessary and the request is a "complete joke." A hearing is set later this month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.