Why Michael Avenatti thinks only a white man can beat Trump

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer and possible presidential candidate, caused a stir with his contention that there’s only one type of candidate who can beat President Trump. In an interview with TIME published Thursday, Avenatti said the Democrats’ 2020 nominee “better be a white male,” because society affords more credibility to white men than it does others.

Though the statement has struck many as inflammatory, it represents a real, if usually private, debate within the Democratic Party—one that is likely to recur as the next presidential election approaches. Avenatti, who once worked as a researcher on political campaigns, clarified his position on Thursday:

Here’s what Avenatti told TIME in an interview on June 25 in New York City, before he began publicly considering a presidential run.

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