Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi sharply criticized Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, arguing his near half-century in politics had a unifying theme: enriching his family.
“When you look at his 47-year career in politics, the people who benefited are his family members, not the American people,” Bondi said in a six-minute prime time speech during Tuesday’s Republican National Convention in Washington D.C.
The line of attack was noteworthy not only because of her allegations that self-dealing fueled Biden’s family’s activities in Ukraine and China, but because of the man she was making the case for: President Donald Trump.
President Donald Trump counts two family members, daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner as top White House advisors. His campaign has paid his family business at least $2.3 million.
Yet Bondi directed charges of nepotism squarely on Trump’s challenger.
“How many American families would be allowed to get away with this? Why should there be one standard for the elite political class, and another set of rules for the rest of us?” Bondi said, referring to Biden. “When millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump, they knew he’d be different, and he is.”
The dealings of Biden and his son Hunter with Ukraine — and Trump’s efforts to expose them — were at the center of the Democrat-led impeachment effort earlier this year. Bondi served on Trump’s legal defense team as that case made its way through Congress.
Her speech Tuesday was the latest stop in Bondi’s whirlwind political journey with Trump.
Although it’s unclear how or when Trump and Bondi first met, their relationship first gained wide notice when she was Florida’s attorney general in 2013, around the time her office was deciding whether or not to investigate “Trump University.”
Trump’s educational seminars were triggering complaints from former students who claimed they were bait-and-switch scams. Trump sent Bondi’s political committee a $25,000 donation from the Donald J. Trump foundation, his charity. Bondi’s office chose not to press charges.
While Bondi and Trump have denied that the donation was improper, Trump eventually refunded his charity for the donation and paid a $2,500 fine to the Internal Revenue Service.
Nonprofits classified under the 501c(3) portion of IRS code are not allowed to contribute to political campaigns. The Trump camp said in 2016 that the donation came from the charity because of a clerical error. (The Donald J. Trump Foundation dissolved in 2018 amid numerous allegations of illegal activity.)
Although Bondi solicited Trump’s donation in 2013 for her 2014 re-election campaign, she did not endorse the real estate mogul immediately after he declared his intention to run for president in 2015. Instead, Bondi backed Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor.
But after Bush exited the race, Bondi backed Trump — picking the eventual Republican nominee even ahead of Sen. Marco Rubio days before of the Republican primary in Florida.
Bondi took a job last year at Ballard Partners, the influential and Trump-connected lobbying firm.
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