Former Attorney General Eric Holder contradicted former first lady Michelle Obama’s 2016 advice to Democrats to take the high ground.
At a campaign event in Georgia, Holder told Democrats to take a more aggressive approach when needed.
“Michelle always says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. No. When they go low, we kick them,” Holder said to laughter and applause.
“That’s what this Democratic Party’s about. We’re proud as hell to be Democrats. We’re willing to fight for the ideals of the Democratic Party.”
Later on during that speech, Holder clarified that his "kick them" was rhetorical, not literal. "When I say we kick ‘em, I don’t mean we do anything inappropriate, we don’t do anything illegal, but we have to be tough and we have to fight,” he explained.
Holder has previously expressed interest in running for president.
Video of Holder’s comments surfaced online a day after Hillary Clinton said, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for.”
[Opinion: Hillary Clinton cheers the end of civility]
"If we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that's when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength," Clinton told CNN.
In August, lawyer Michael Avenatti, another possible Democratic contender in 2020, also rejected Obama’s oft-quoted advice.
“We must be a party that fights fire with fire,” he said during a speech in Iowa. “When they go low, I say hit back harder.”