image via Space Coast Daily
With Florida poised to again play a key role in the presidential race, Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi took the stage Wednesday at the Republican National Convention to make the case for Donald Trump.
Scott, one of Trump's most enthusiastic supporters since the real-estate developer won Florida's GOP presidential primary, blasted President Barack Obama for not naming "radical Islamic terrorism" as an enemy in the country's fight against extremism. But he focused primarily on touting Trump as an agent for change.
And he alluded to Trump's time as the host of the reality television show The Apprentice.
"This year, we get to fire the politicians," Scott said. "And who better to let the politicians know 'you're fired' than Donald Trump?"
Scott also cast in stark terms the stakes of the choice between Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will receive the Democratic nomination next week in Philadelphia.
"But this election is not actually about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton," Scott said. "In fact, it's not the election of you or me. This election is about the very survival of the American Dream."
Bondi's speech lingered on the "rule of law" – an implicit criticism of the FBI's decision not to recommend criminal charges against Clinton for her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, despite FBI Director James Comey saying Clinton was "extremely careless" with classified information.
"November 8 is when America feels safe again," Bondi said. "Because that's when America wins again. Because winning this election means reclaiming something to which I have dedicated my entire career: the rule of law."
The attorney general also touched on the future of the U.S. Supreme Court, something aimed at rallying social conservatives behind the thrice-married Trump, who espoused liberal views on issues like abortion before running for the Republican nomination.
The next president could fill a seat left vacant by the death of conservative stalwart Antonin Scalia and likely will replace some other current justices on the court.
"Hillary will stack the Supreme Court with liberal justices who will allow government to continue its rampage against our individual rights, with utter contempt for our Second Amendment," Bondi said. "I know Donald, and I am proud to know Donald. He will appoint conservative justices who will defend rather than rewrite our Constitution."
The Clinton campaign was quick to highlight an Associated Press report in June about a donation Bondi received from Trump "around the same time" her office was considering joining an investigation into the businessman's namesake university. Bondi eventually decided not to join the case against Trump's venture.
"Despite receiving complaints from angry Floridians and others, Bondi declined to investigate Trump University's shameful dealings after personally soliciting campaign contributions from Donald Trump," the Clinton campaign said.
The speeches, which took place relatively early in the evening, were not the centerpiece of the third day at the convention. But they did seem to reflect a concerted effort to appeal to a state that Republicans essentially must win to clinch the White House.
"Everyone knows that we are the most important swing state in the nation," Florida GOP Chairman Blaise Ingoglia told reporters earlier in the day. "And you're seeing that not only in the speakers that are here, the speakers that are on the main stage, but how the state of Florida is being treated."
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, one of Florida's native sons who lost to Trump in the state's March 15 primary after engaging in an insult war with the businessman, also appealed in a video for party unity.
"After a long and spirited primary, the time for fighting each other is over," Rubio said. "It's time to come together and fight for a new direction for America."