At last, Democrats and Republicans have found common ground in hoping that Michael Avenatti, the wannabe progressive president, will soon disappear.
Best known as the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels and more recently for representing Julie Swetnick, who leveled a dubious gang-rape charge against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Avenatti added to his infamy last week by suggesting that Democrats need to nominate a white man for president.
“When you have a white male making the arguments, they carry more weight,” he said in a Time interview posted Thursday. “Should they carry more weight? Absolutely not. But do they? Yes.”
Well, he did promise that he was the Democratic version of Donald Trump. So there’s that.
It isn’t funny.
Coincidentally, Avenatti’s fateful remark came just as NBC was ousting “Today” host Megyn Kelly for insisting that wearing blackface for Halloween was a fun childhood tradition. Though she ultimately apologized, it was too little, too late. Welcome to 2018, Megyn.
On the very same day, more greasepaint hit the fan when Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley referred Avenatti and Swetnick to the Department of Justice for investigation into the possibility that the two conspired to give false testimony against Kavanaugh and attempted obstruction of a congressional investigation.
The Dickensian-named Swetnick claimed that Kavanaugh was part of a drug-and-gang-rape operation at weekend high school parties that she attended as a college student. Pause for reality check: What female college student (1) attends high-school parties on weekends; (2) witnesses gang rapes; (3) doesn’t notify the police; and (4) keeps coming back? I recognize that one is never supposed to question a woman’s credibility in such matters, but given that Swetnick essentially recanted her story, it seems fair-enough play to offer a little balance for a change.
Swetnick’s allegations were delivered in a sworn statement to Grassley’s committee on Sept. 26, the day before the much-watched dual testimonies of Kavanaugh and first-accuser Christine Blasey Ford. Even though Swetnick’s story fell apart a few days later during an NBC News interview, in which she walked back or contradicted parts of her sworn statement, the damage had been done.
The next day, at Ford’s hearing, ranking committee member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., mentioned the Swetnick allegations (but not specifically the gang-rape portion) in her opening statement. As she spoke, television cameras showed Ford tearing up. This not only set the tone for the day, but it surely created sympathy for Ford and added another layer of presumed guilt against Kavanaugh.
Also, a letter signed by all 10 Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee was sent -- within minutes of Swetnick’s sworn statement being delivered -- to President Trump requesting that he withdraw Kavanaugh from consideration, according to Capitol Hill officials. How anyone was able to get 10 senators to sign a letter in such quick order is a mystery among veteran Hill staffers, many of whom will tell you it’s virtually impossible.
Grassley clearly suspects a conspiracy involving Avenatti and Swetnick. Whatever occurred with them or others, the connections between one of Ford’s attorneys, Debra Katz, and Feinstein’s staff, which recommended Katz, suggest close channels of communication. In a small-world asterisk, Katz’s law firm represented Swetnick in a case a decade ago.
Meanwhile, Avenatti, expressed glee at Grassley’s DOJ referral in a tweet Thursday: “Maybe if Grassley was actually a lawyer that knew something about the law, he would realize what he has done. He just opened up Pandora’s box as it relates to Justice Kavanaugh’s conduct. It is Christmas in October!” In a separate interview with Vanity Fair’s Tina Nguyen, he called Grassley a “moron.” Resorting to personal invective usually indicates an absence of argument.
It’s true that we don’t yet know what brand of toothpaste Kavanaugh preferred at 17, but it seems unlikely that there’s much left to discover about a man whose life has been so thoroughly examined. And speaking of morons, since he brought it up, Avenatti’s “white man” appeal is hardly the brightest path for one hoping to snare a nomination from the party of identity politics.
Avenatti tried to explain himself to Nguyen, saying that his words were taken out of context. What he meant, he said, was that a white man defending a woman or minority person is most effective. Time stands by its story.
Given all of the above, it would seem that Halloween, not Christmas, is a more timely and apt holiday for Avenatti to celebrate. Perhaps he and Kelly, now $69 million richer, can crash the season’s party circuit as a spooky pair of racists -- and then go far, far away.
Kathleen Parker’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.