Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who claims she had a consensual affair with President Donald Trump in 2006, appeared on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Thursday for an interview, which ended up sounding more like a shouting match.
Avenatti has emerged as a chief critic of Trump after becoming a fixture on more liberal and centrist cable news networks like MSNBC and CNN, often speaking about Daniels' case against the president and his former lawyer Michael Cohen. He has since expressed political ambitions and is considering a possible run for president in 2020.
Tucker Carlson, who has repeatedly referred to Avenatti as the "creepy porn lawyer," said he would refrain from calling him that for the sake of the interview, because "we’re always grateful when guests are brave enough to show up in person."
That promise was immediately contradicted by the chyrons on the bottom of the screen, which continued to mock Avenatti as "creepy porn lawyer" and "CPL." "Does America want creepy porn lawyer as pres?" and "Tucker takes on creepy porn lawyer" were two examples.
The interview became explosive immediately. Carlson attempted to test Avenatti about his political knowledge and foreign policy tactics, should he run for president. The attorney was dismayed, saying he thought he was brought on the show to speak about Daniels' case.
"Why is it that you don't call Donald Trump the creepy porn president?" Avevantti asked Carlson. "He's the one that had sex with a four-month old son at home, with my client, without a condom."
Carlson conceded that he did believe that Trump had an affair with Daniels, and that's where the pair's agreement ended. "OK, so he's lied repeatedly to the American people," Avenatti followed up. "And you're OK with that?"
Trump has denied the alleged affair with Daniels, initially claiming he did not know about the $130,000 settlement paid to her and arranged by Cohen in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. Cohen, who recently plead guilty to campaign finance charges, says otherwise.
Carlson charged that Avenatti is "exploiting" Daniels and feels bad for her. Because of her case, Avenatti has been given a platform, and Carlson assumed that he has been paid handsomely for his hundreds of cable news appearances.
"Stormy Daniels is right now, working in strip clubs in little towns. Onstage, people are throwing things at her. You're wearing a $1,000 suit," the Fox News host continued. "You've profited from Stormy Daniels."
Avenatti slammed Carlson for not knowing the facts, and attempted to redirect the focus back to the president's alleged transgressions of sleeping with Daniels, while he had a baby at home. "You are a little moralizer," Carlson taunted. "We're in church now."
"How do you have a show, and you’re this ignorant?" Avenatti fired back. "How is that possible?"
Before the interview was finished, the two also got into an argument over porn. "Do you have a problem with porn?" Avenatti questioned. "When's the last time you saw porn?"
"Oh, you busted me," Carlson replied. "Actually, maybe humiliation porn. That’s why I watch you on CNN." The Fox News anchor erupted into laughter at his own joke.
After the interview ended, Avenatti posted on Twitter: "The extent there was any doubt as to the lack of professionalism of Tucker Carlson or Fox News before tonight, there is no longer. What happened with the chyron tonight was a disgrace. Complete garbage - trash television. A new low."
The extent there was any doubt as to the lack of professionalism of @TuckerCarlson or @FoxNews before tonight, there is no longer. What happened with the chyron tonight was a disgrace. Complete garbage - trash television. A new low.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 14, 2018
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Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah MORE FROM Rachel Leah
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