Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against president Trump, travelled to Iowa this week to begin “exploring” a 2020 presidential campaign.
“I’m exploring a run for the presidency of the United States, and I wanted to come to Iowa and listen to people and learn about some issues that are facing the citizens of Iowa and do my homework,” Avenatti told the Des Moines Register on Thursday.
Avenatti — traveling in the company of former Clinton strategist Matt Paul, according to the New York Times — also told reporters he plans to travel to New Hampshire, the site of the first presidential primary, “within the next month.”
The Los Angeles-based lawyer has gained notoriety in recent months due to his near incessant appearances on cable news programs.
The frequent on-air discussion of Daniels’ case, as well as those of other woman who claim they received payments to conceal their affairs with Trump, have earned Avenatti condemnation from critics who claim the exercise is one of self promotion.
Avenatti, referring to himself as a “fighter,” pushed back Thursday against the suggestion that the nascent presidential run is a publicity stunt.
“I would never think to come to Iowa in order to use the state or the people of the state to raise my profile,” he said. “And obviously if I do this, then I intend to work hard and I know that ultimately the trust of the citizens of Iowa is going to have to be earned.”
“I think there’s a huge appetite within the party for a fighter,” he continued. “I think the party has yearned for a fighter — a fighter for good, if you will — for a significant period of time. And for many, I’m probably seen as that individual.”