Michael Avenatti, attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, took his presidential campaign ambitions to the next level on Tuesday morning by releasing a “summary” of where he stood on political issues du jour.
Could this been the first official step towards answering the question on everyone’s mind: Is he running?
“Many have asked me my position on various issues. Below is a summary of where I stand. This is not an exhaustive list and more positions & details will follow,” he wrote in a tweet accompanying the multi-page platform. “Most importantly, I didn't have to hire a pollster or political consultant to tell me what to say or what to believe.”
The three-page document accompanying the tweet, titled “What I Believe,” outlines Avenatti’s stances on issues like job creation and immigration. He echoed Democratic talking points on many issues—including relief for student-loan debt, support for “sensible” gun control, a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, decriminalized marijuana, and women’s reproductive rights—but also took on more controversial positions like “Medicare for All,” a policy seen as a harbinger of the party’s leftward shift.
The anti-Trump lawyer, however, distanced himself from that shift, saying he does not agree with insurgent left Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, writing that instead ICE “must change the way [it] carries out enforcement” along the border.
Avenatti also announced that his “infrastructure package” to build roads, bridges, and airports would be called the “Real Deal,” referencing the handful of presidents who suffixed their infrastructure or federal jobs programs with the word “Deal.”
Beyond political platforms and branding, Avenatti has vowed to never take “any corporate [Political Action Committee] money” should he decide to run. He has called money the “root of all evil in politics” and said any serious player in the 2020 primary needs to ditch PAC funding.
“I believe all candidates for president in 2020 should refund all corporate PAC money they have received since January 1, 2016 if they are sincere about campaign finance reform, otherwise it is all talk designed to deceive voters,” he wrote.
The Southern Californian lawyer’s political ambitions have quickly escalated in recent months.
Avenatti told CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday that he was qualified to be president because he has been a “good listener” and a “student of the law” for 18 years, openly suggesting he has the intelligence he believes President Trump lacks.
Last month, Avenatti indicated that he’d make a run at the presidency if Trump ran for re-election. And then last week he told The Des Moines Register that he was “exploring” a run while attending a major Democratic fundraiser in Iowa largely seen as the “unofficial kick-off of 2020 Iowa Caucus campaigning.”
And judging by that crowd in Iowa, Avenatti seems to have some support already. “I think he should jump right in,” Mary Cole, attendee of Iowa’s Wing Ding Dinner told The Daily Beast. “I think we need someone who can beat Trump … Michael Avenatti I think can handle Trump. Michael Avenatti is much smarter.”
Aside from his political ambitions, Avenatti is currently still involved in legal battles between president and Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with the president and was paid $130,000 in a hush agreement to keep her from speaking about it. Daniels and Avenatti have since appeared on 60 Minutes after she filed a new lawsuit against Trump, and the lawyer has since become something of a fixture on cable-news shows.