In an interview with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, O’Rourke took at shot at celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, arguing that the attorney, who regularly battles President Donald Trump on Twitter, “does not represent” Democrats.
Avenatti is one among a chorus of Democrats who have twisted Michelle Obama’s “When they go low, we go high” credo from the 2016 election in an effort to appear tougher against Trump and the GOP this time around.
Avenatti’s version: “When they go low, I say we hit harder.”
Former Attorney General Eric Holder’s take: “When they go low, we kick them. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.”
O’Rourke, a congressman who is running a tight race against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, apparently isn’t joining this Democratic fight club anytime soon. He said he wants to push away from the rough-and-tumble messaging.
“Avenatti does not represent us,” O’Rourke said to Bruni. “Eric Holder — what he said — that’s not where we’re at.”
O’Rourke added that “there is a real concern about civility — not for the sake of manners but for the sake of the country working.”
Democrats are clearly divided on what tone they should be taking in this election cycle, and the next. There are those like Avenatti, who has made a name for himself by boisterously picking at Trump and who’s now flirting with a presidential bid himself, and those like O’Rourke, who maintains an air of level-headeded reason. But even O’Rourke calls his opponent an outright extremist.
A new Emerson College poll showed Cruz beating O’Rourke by just 3 points in a race that was once viewed as a long shot at best for the Democrats.