Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi did not enter the Republican National Convention this week with the best credibility on ethics. Just last month, news broke that she had personally solicited a $25,000 donation from Donald Trump just before dropping an investigation into fraud complaints against his private university.
So it was a bit odd watching Bondi speak to the RNC last night, hollering "God Bless the Trump family!" with a straight face, and demanding the government throw Hillary Clinton in prison.
"Lock her up," Bondi told the crowd. "I like that."
Before Bondi's 8:30 speech last night, her selection as an RNC speaker had seemed risky. Outside of Florida, Bondi is far from a household name, and even inside the state, she's best-known for opposing gay marriage despite having been married three times herself. As a state attorney general, she was one of the lowest-ranking politicians to get a prime-time RNC speaking slot this year.
Now it seems clear why: The entire RNC this week has been an all-out coronation for Donald Trump, complete with what resembled a Nazi salute to a gigantic picture of Trump's face. Bondi, meanwhile, is one of the few working members of America's judicial system that really seems jazzed about both Trump's jingoism and his obsession with "winning."
"November 8 is when America feels safe again, because that's when America wins again," Bondi told the crowd.
Bondi said that if Trump is elected, he will commit to enforcing the "rule of law," and then expressed her support for the officers shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But Bondi didn't once mention Alton Sterling, the man killed on video by Baton Rouge officers.
"Because winning this election means reclaiming something to which I've dedicated my entire career: the rule of law," she said. "Laws that make our neighborhoods safe. Laws that make our economy strong. Laws that apply equally to everyone. And Louisiana, now more than ever, laws that back our law enforcement. They have our backs. And Donald Trump will have your backs."
She also endorsed Trump's nativist immigration policies and even blamed immigrants for bringing cocaine and heroin into Florida. The speech was a frightening preview of Trump-land for the millions of Latin American immigrants living in her home state.
"He will enforce immigration laws to keep us safe while allowing legal immigrants to bless this nation with their talents and their dreams," she said. "And California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Donald Trump will take control of our borders, because we must stop the influx of cocaine and heroin coming into our country and my state, killing our kids."
Bondi then launched into a long-form criticism of Hillary Clinton, saying Clinton believes that "laws don't apply to her."
"And, by the way, she deserves no security clearance," Bondi said. "How do you become president of the United States when you have no security clearance? This lawlessness must stop. Right here. Right now. Donald Trump will stop it."
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There is more than a whiff of hypocrisy in that line of attack, as critics have already pointed out today, considering Bondi's own ongoing ethical fiasco over Trump's donation. State Democrats are demanding that Bondi step down as attorney general over the case.
Clinton has faced legitimate criticism for the way she handled her private email server, but she's been cleared of criminal wrongdoing. Bondi, in fact, may be in a far larger political pickle — which perhaps explains whom she has turned to for help.
"I know Donald," she said last night. "And I am proud to know Donald."
Here's Bondi's entire speech: