Pam Bondi silent as Trump controversies build
UPDATE: Bondi has responded to the AP story, calling it "false and misleading."
A day after two bombshell reports involving her and Donald Trump, Attorney General Pam Bondi has gone silent.
Bondi has not responded to a request for comment about a conference call Trump held yesterday with surrogates in which he doubled down on criticism of a federal judge many have found racist. She also hasn't responded to developments involving Trump University and a political contribution Trump gave her.
Trump says the judge’s Mexican heritage creates a conflict of interest in a case over Trump University because Trump wants to build a wall on the Mexican border. On the call Monday, Trump encouraged Bondi and other surrogates to intensify criticism of the judge and cast reporters as racists, according to Bloomberg.
Not long after that news broke, The Associated Press reported that Bondi personally solicited a political contribution from Trump around the time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates. Trump gave $25,000.
The Tampa Bay Times reached out to Bondi’s office yesterday and was directed to her political advisor Adam Goodman. The Times also left a message on Bondi’s cell phone.
Mark Reichelderfer, a Tallahassee political consultant who worked for Bondi's 2014 re-election and who fielded questions on the donation at her request, told AP that Bondi spoke with Trump "several weeks" before her office announced it was deliberating whether to join a multi-state lawsuit proposed by New York's attorney general, Democrat Eric Schneiderman. Reichelderfer said Bondi was unaware of dozens of consumer complaints received by her office about Trump University filed before she solicited the donation.
"The process took at least several weeks from the time they spoke to the time they received the contribution," Reichelderfer told AP. The timing of the donation is notable because the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has said he expected and received favors from politicians to whom he gave money.