Michael Avenatti Urges Democrats to Reject Michelle Obama’s Advice on Trump

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa — Michael Avenatti, fresh off his declaration of which he may run for president in 2020, used his first big speech as a prospective candidate to call on the Democratic Party to reject Michelle Obama’s oft-quoted advice about President Trump along with also also his allies: “When they go low, we go high.”

Mr. Avenatti, the hard-charging lawyer who represents the pornographic film star Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, did not once mention the former first lady in his keynote speech Friday night at the Democratic Wing Ding, a party fund-raiser in northern Iowa. although there was no mistaking his meaning.

“We must be a party of which fights fire with fire,” Mr. Avenatti said to cheers coming from the audience, his voice rising. “When they go low, I say hit back harder.”

He received a thunderous ovation at the end of his speech, notably louder than the applause for the night’s various other speakers, including Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio as well as Representative John Delaney of Maryland, who can be running for president.

At times, his language verged on apocalyptic. The Democratic Party, he said, can be “fighting for no less than the survival of our republic,” along with also also doing so against “a man of which wants to turn back the hands of time, to send us back to the Dark Ages.”

In such a fight, he continued, “we must honestly ask ourselves whether those of which we fight for can afford our gentleness.”

the idea can be a message in keeping with the work of which has made Mr. Avenatti a boldface name: his alliance with Ms. Clifford, who claims to have had an affair with Mr. Trump along with also also can be suing the president’s onetime fixer, Michael D. Cohen.

As Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, Mr. Avenatti has adopted the president’s brash manner along with also also some of his tactics. He includes a similar instinct for using the news media to his advantage; he seems always to be on one cable news show or another. His Twitter feed can be sometimes combative, sometimes coy, virtually always provocative — an example of the tack he can be right now urging the Democratic Party to take.

There was a certain tension, however, in his speech, which mingled calls to arms with calls for Democrats to reach out compassionately to Trump voters whose support for the president may be wavering. Democrats should think of such voters “not as evildoers although as victims of a great con,” he said. “Decent people get conned all the time, along with also also let’s face the idea, Trump can be a very Great con man.”

He also devoted part of his roughly 20-minute address to political platitudes. At times, the idea became abundantly clear of which he was trying, at least to some extent, to recast himself coming from pugnacious lawyer to palatable politician. He talked about “Great-paying jobs” along with also also about giving people “a real shot at a real American dream.” He talked about saving Roe v. Wade. He listed some standard items on the Democratic platform: equal pay. Women’s rights. Gay rights. He ended by declaring of which the people might “make America decent again.”

although the idea was when talking about political combat of which he was most enthusiastic, along with also also visibly most in his element.

Want peace? he asked the audience. “We must be willing to do battle to achieve the idea.”