Isn’t it interesting that Donald Trump, so famous for the return punch, has neglected to counter punch the biggest nemesis on his radar right now, namely Michael Avenatti? Where is the oppositional digging? Where is the push back? “No one seems to understand why the RNC, America Rising and other GOP groups aren’t doing even basic political blocking and tackling with Avenatti,” said a GOP operative. “He’s essentially gotten a free pass from them.” Daily Beast:
It is, in many respects, the most unexpected of plot lines: a president who regales in throwing counterpunches simply choosing to not throw one at all. In the past, Trump has taken delight in going after his legal foes, including judges and even women who have come forward to accuse him of sexual harassment or assault. And when it’s not him, his aides and allied institutions have picked up the slack. For former FBI Director James Comey, the RNC took the lead in rapid response during the Higher Loyalty media blitz.
But with respect to Avenatti, Trump—famous for his hate-tweeting and his penchant for punching down—has remained conspicuously silent—even on his Twitter feed.
It’s not because he doesn’t have any thoughts on the matter. According to two sources close to the president, Trump has privately branded Avenatti a wannabe bigshot and a “loser.” A White House official noted that Trump has explained his decision to not go after Avenatti publicly because he deems him a “total loser” not worthy of Trump’s acknowledgement, whether on Twitter, in public statements, or in response to shouted questions from the White House press corps.
It is, in other words, strategic non-engagement. And though it’s not like Trump to bite his tongue, other strategists on the Republican side say it is the smart move to make; if only because any alternative would only elevate Avenatti further.
Meanwhile Avenatti laughs at the notion of any kind of a strategy, saying, “Strategy? They have a strategy? I thought their approach was centered on tic tac toe,”
The pugnacious, telegenic lawyer insisted that Trump and his senior staffers are spooked by him. He claims to have heard “from multiple people” that “the White House is prohibiting people close to the president from going on camera with me on any show,” and that he has even been told by TV bookers West Wing officials have “pulled the plug” on media appearances when they’ve caught wind that Avenatti would be on the same segment.
This conflict is only warming up. Avenatti is relentlessly dogging Michael Cohen and the results of the FBI/Cohen raid, a debacle about which Trump is purported to vent “at least 20 times a day.” Very likely all the skeletons were in Cohen’s closet and Avenatti is going to clean house.