Television lawyer and Democrat White House hopeful said in a newly released interview that his party’s 2020 presidential nominee “better be a white male,” suggesting arguments made by people of color carry less “weight.”
In an interview with TIME magazine published Thursday, Avenatti rejected the notion that diversity should dictate who Democrat voters select to running against President Donald Trump in 2020. “I think it better be a white male,” Avenatti said. “When you have a white male making the arguments, they carry more weight.
“Should they carry more weight? Absolutely not. But do they? Yes,” the lawyer added.
The remark is sure to draw ire from Democrats who believe identify politics should play an important role in shaping the party’s future.
Political observers are still wondering whether Avenatti is serious about launching a bid for the presidency and was pressed as recently as last weekend about his intentions. “Well, my consideration is very serious. I have not made a decision yet,” Avenatti told MSNBC when asked about a possible bid. “I’ve been to over 15 states in the last couple months — gauging reaction, helping raise money for Democrats.”
During a sit-down interview with Vanity Fair’s Emily Jane Fox, Avenatti admitted that while other Democrats weighing White House bids may make for a better president than him, he said only those with a genuine shot of beating President Trump should toss their hats in the ring.
“I think there’s a short list of people who can beat Donald Trump and a number of those people that are considering running. I think they would make an exceptional president. In fact, a number of them would probably make a better president of the United States than I would,” he said. “But you know what? They don’t have any shot at beating Donald Trump. They have no shot at beating Donald Trump. In my view, if you don’t have a legitimate shot, you don’t belong in the race.”
Avenatti, who recently launched his own political funding raising arm, Fight PAC, will make campaign stops in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, to help boost Democrats congressional candidates running in the 2018 midterm elections.
The TIME interview was released hours apart from Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley referred the lawyer and his client Julie Swetnick to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation for making possible false statements regarding then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.