Elections

Pam Bondi and Rick Scott will speak at GOP convention

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is greeted by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as she introduces him to speak at a campaign event in Tampa on March 14, 2016. She is scheduled tog ive a five-minute address at the Republican National Convention at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is greeted by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as she introduces him to speak at a campaign event in Tampa on March 14, 2016. She is scheduled tog ive a five-minute address at the Republican National Convention at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. AP

Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi will deliver prime-time speeches at Donald Trump’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week.

Scott will talk about the importance of jobs on Thursday, the convention’s final night. That’s when the campaign said football star Tim Tebow — a recent convert to the Republican Party — was expected to join the speakers’ lineup.

But the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from the University of Florida cast doubt on the notion that he would speak at the convention in a Facebook video Thursday night.

“I just got back from the Philippines and I wake up this morning to find out I’m speaking at the Republican National Convention,’’ he said. “It’s amazing how fast rumors fly. And that’s exactly what it is — a rumor.”

Bondi, whose ties to Trump have been a recurring controversy, is set to talk about law enforcement in a speech tentatively set for 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Next week’s convention stage will feature political and business leaders, pro athletes, celebrities, four of Trump’s children and five of his vanquished rivals for the GOP nomination, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who will appear in a videotaped speech.

Spread over four nights, the lineup includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, both of whom have voiced misgivings about Trump; professional golfer Natalie Gulbis; Marcus Luttrell, a retired Navy SEAL who was awarded the Navy Cross after surviving a fierce attack in Afghanistan; oil and gas billionaire Harold Hamm, widely described as a fracking pioneer; Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr.; Chris Cox, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association; and Antonio Sabato Jr., an actor and model who has appeared in Calvin Klein underwear ads.

Tebow, 28, of Jacksonville, had been registered as a no-party affiliation voter since 2013, but he re-registered as a Republican on Feb. 16. That’s the last day he could change parties and vote in Florida’s closed presidential primary, which Trump won overwhelmingly.

Several Floridians are on the list of speakers released Thursday by the Republican National Convention, including former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson of West Palm Beach and Sharon Day of Fort Lauderdale, national co-chairman of the Republican Party.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re speaking,” Day said of the speeches by Scott and Bondi. “They were early supporters of Donald Trump and they’re from a very important state.”

Scott endorsed Trump in March, but his support was obvious in January in a column in USA Today in which he said Trump “is capturing the frustration” many Americans feel about President Barack Obama’s record.

Bondi was an enthusiastic supporter of Jeb Bush’s candidacy for president and endorsed Trump after the former governor dropped out of the race . (Bush is one of a number of prominent Republicans who will boycott their own party’s convention.)

As the state’s chief legal officer, Bondi is the target of an ethics complaint for soliciting a $25,000 campaign contribution from Trump in 2013. At that time, her office has said, two consumers had lodged complaints involving sales and marketing practices at Trump University, a for-profit real estate school that’s the subject of hundreds of complaints and nationwide class action lawsuits in California and New York.

Bondi decided not to open an investigation of Trump University and urged that consumers contact New York, which had already launched a probe of the school.

“No one in my office ever opened an investigation on Trump University nor was there a basis for doing so,” Bondi said last month. “I have spent my career prosecuting criminals and protecting Floridians.”

Bondi, 50, also spoke at the 2012 GOP convention in Tampa.

She did not respond to interview requests Thursday, nor did Adam Goodman, a Tampa political strategist. A Scott political adviser, Melissa Stone, said she had no additional details on the governor’s speech.

Bondi is one of several prominent Republican women who will be showcased at the Cleveland convention as Trump tries to narrow a gender gap with Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The New York Times reported some of Trump’s convention schedule:

Monday: A Benghazi focus, followed by border patrol agents and Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son was killed by an undocumented immigrant. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; Melania Trump; Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; and others.

Tuesday: A focus on the economy with Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship; Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey; Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the majority leader; Tiffany Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter; Donald Trump Jr.; and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Wednesday: Bondi; Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a space shuttle mission; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Eric Trump, Donald Trump’s son; Gulbis, the professional golfer; and the nominee for vice president.

Thursday: Tebow; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin; Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman; Gov. Scott; billionaire Peter Thiel; Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a private-equity real estate investor; Ivanka Trump; Donald J. Trump.

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