August 19. 2018 10:31PM

Stormy Daniels attorney tells New Hampshire Democrats it's time to start throwing punches

By TRAVIS R. MORIN
Union Leader Correspondent


Attorney Michael Avenatti posing for selfies with attendees of Sunday's Hillsborough County Democrats' Summer Picnic fundraiser. (Travis R. Morin/Union Leader Correspondent)

GREENFIELD — California-based attorney Michael Avenatti had a pointed message for attendees of Sunday’s Hillsborough County Democrats’ Summer Picnic fundraiser: If they want to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020, it’s time for Democrats to take off the gloves.

“What I fear most for this Democratic party that I love so much is that we have a tendency to bring nail clippers to a gunfight,” Avenatti said. “I believe the Democratic Party must be a party that fights fire with fire.”

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley introduced Avenatti to the crowd of several hundred as “Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.”

Avenatti is the attorney representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against Trump; he has spent the summer openly discussing his interest in a potential 2020 presidential bid.

“Some of you may be thinking, ‘What is some porn star lawyer doing here today to talk to us today about our republic and our party?’” Avenatti said. “In normal times, I would not be with you today. I would be back in Los Angeles enjoying my good fortune. But these, as all of you know, are anything but normal times.”

Stating his view that Trump lacks “the wisdom, compassion and fortitude” to sit in the White House, Avenatti said it is time for Democrats to unify behind a more aggressive campaign strategy.

“When they go low, we hit harder,” Avenatti said.

Sunday’s unofficial campaign stump speech was by no means the first foray into politics for the 47-year-old Avenatti, who worked for 130 Democratic campaigns in more than 42 states before he attended law school.

Although he stopped short of saying that he was the Democrats’ best hope to beat Trump in 2020, Avenatti wasn’t shy about making the case that he is the one candidate who Trump wouldn’t want to square off against in a debate.

“He’s a bully and he doesn’t like people that punch back,” Avenatti said. “I think I would be incredibly effective against him. I don’t think he’s very quick on his feet, I don’t think he’s very intelligent, and I think he’d be completely outclassed.”

Picnic attendees June and Tony Rolon, both retired middle school teachers from New Boston, said they supported Avenatti’s suggested approach for Democrats in 2020.

“I agree with most of the things he said,” Tony Rolon said. “I absolutely believe that the Democratic Party has been too polite. He definitely got my attention today.”

June Rolon agreed, saying that Avenatti mirrors Trump’s confidence, but in a thoughtful manner.

“He’s not as crass as Trump at all,” she said. “He understands respect and speaks in a commanding voice without Trump’s middle-school vocabulary.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand, who was also in attendance, said he was interested to hear Avenatti’s views, agreeing that a more direct tone was a large part of Trump’s appeal to voters in 2016.

“The thing Democrats I think need to understand is that there are a lot of people that voted for Donald Trump without really liking him,” Marchand said. “But they liked what they perceived as straightforwardness and authenticity — ‘telling it like it is.’ That’s a part of the message that we should learn from.”