“After consultation with my family and at their request, I have decided not to seek the Presidency of the United States in 2020. I do not make this decision lightly — I make it out of respect for my family,” he said in a statement he posted on Twitter. “But for their concerns, I will not run.”
Avenatti said he will continue to represent Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who claims she had sexual relations with Trump in 2006. Avenatti said he will “not rest until Trump is removed from office, and our republic and its values are restored.”
He added that he “remained concerned” that the Democrats will nominate an individual “who might make an exceptional president, but has no chance of actually beating Donald Trump. The party must immediately recognize that many of the likely candidates are not battle tested and have no real chance of winning. We will not prevail in 2020 without a fighter. I remain hopeful the party finds one.”
The field of contenders may number in the dozens, with a number of political figures saying they are considering a bid. But as he gained national recognition for his representation of Daniels, Avenatti saw himself as an unconventional choice who could match Trump in hardball tactics.
Avenatti began to lay the groundwork for a campaign, appearing at political events and fundraisers and visiting some of the early states in the primary calendar.
In recent weeks, Avenatti has faced the fallout from his arrest on domestic violence claims. He has denied the allegations, and the Los Angeles District Attorney declined to charge him with a felony. He could face a misdemeanor charge.
Last week, it also appeared that he was having a rift with Daniels, who claimed that she was unaware that he was going to file a defamation case on her behalf against Trump. But she wrote on Sunday, “Pleased that Michael and I have sorted shit out and we know the accounting is on the up and up. We are going to kick ass together on two coasts tomorrow.”
After making his announcement, Avenatti continued to insist that he would have been a formidable prospect.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver tweeted that “Avenatti was polling at 1 percent. His handling of Julie Swetnick was a disaster. He was recently charged with domestic violence. He doesn’t have Trump’s instincts and Democrats don’t have an appetite for a Trump-like candidate. He would have lost badly and embarrassed himself.”
Avenatti responded, “Nate – this just goes to show you really don’t know what you are talking about. 1) Trump polled at 0-3% until June of 2015 (polls rt now mean nothing); 2) I have not been charged with anything; 3) I have travelled to over 20 states in 4 mos – Dems want a fighter to beat Trump.”