Donald Trump now says he was just such a big fan of Pam Bondi -- the anti-LGBT attorney general of Florida -- that he spontaneously gave a $25,000 donation to a group supporting her reelection campaign.
In fact, Trump told TheWashington Post Monday that he "never spoke to her about that at all." It was apparently only a coincidence that the sudden donation on September 17, 2013, came just days after Bondi announced the state was considering an investigation into Trump University for fraud. Following the donation, that investigation was called off.
But if Trump had merely admired what Bondi had been doing up until September 2013 and sent a check, maybe it's because he'd watched her as a Fox News legal analyst until the 2010 Florida election? Or maybe it's worth noting that Bondi was primarily famous nationally for her crusade against Obamacare? Maybe it was her campaign against marriage equality and against letting gay people adopt children.
The Florida Times-Union ran a story during the 2010 election cycle with this headline: "Gay Adoption Hot Topic in Race for Attorney General." While attorney general races are usually decided on issues of crime and prosecution, Bondi ran partly on her anti-LGBT credibility. Attorneys general from other states had said they couldn't defend bans on adoption by same-sex couples or LGBT individuals, saying they were unconstitutional. That's certainly what her Democratic opponent said. Not Bondi. She promised to "vigorously defend Florida's law banning gay adoption."
It's also possible Trump just happened to see her while watching Fox News September 17? Bondi was a guest on Fox & Friends that morning as part of its "Rising Stars" series. The show touted Bondi as the first female attorney general of Florida and the only Republican woman attorney general anywhere in the country.
"She's a superhero," said host Elisabeth Hasselbeck when introducing Bondi. "She also gained influence among politicos nationwide and that's why Florida attorney general Pam Bondi is one of our rising political stars." At the end of the interview, Hasselbeck reminded viewers that Bondi was running for reelection in 2014. Maybe one Donald J. Trump was listening.
The bottom line is no one is quite sure why the Donald J. Trump Foundation made a donation that day. And Bondi has gone on to become a staunch Trump supporter, even getting a spot in prime time during this year's Republican National Convention. Since 2013, she has also become synonymous with anti-marriage equality efforts, having defended her state's marriage ban with vigor -- in much the same way she once promised to defend the adoption ban.
But it wasn't until this month that anyone knew the Donald J. Trump Foundation had actually been punished for breaking the law with that donation to Bondi.
The Postreported this month that the foundation paid a $2,500 federal fine (10 percent of the overall gift) because the donation was improper. Charitable organizations aren't allowed to make political contributions -- which apparently officials with the Trump Foundation didn't realize when they gave the money to a group backing Bondi's reelection, And Justice for All.
"I never spoke to her, first of all," said Trump, explaining his donation, according to the Post. "She's a fine person, beyond reproach. I never even spoke to her about it at all. She's a fine person. Never spoken to her about it, never."
That comment sparked headlines because the Associated Press reported earlier this year that Bondi had called Trump directly and asked for the contribution.
"Many of the attorney generals turned that case down because I'll win that case in court," Trump said of fraud claims against Trump University, according to the Post. "Many turned that down. I never spoke to her."