WASHINGTON — Marco Rubio took a swing at Democrats Saturday over the controversy surrounding Bernie Sanders’ campaign improperly accessing Democratic National Committee voter data.
“There’s no socialist running in the Republican primary. We’re not hacking into each other’s computers to steal our secrets the way that they are in the Democratic Party,” the Florida senator joked at a campaign event in Spartanburg, South Carolina, adding, “You could have just called the Chinese or the Russians.”
Sanders’ campaign seized on a glitch in a DNC-housed program to access Hillary Clinton’s proprietary data on early-state voters this week. In response, the DNC locked Sanders out of all voter data, including information gathered by his own campaign. So Sanders retaliated with a lawsuit seeking $600,000 per day. The two sides announced a settlement in the wee hours of Saturday morning, with Sanders’ access restored.
Later on Saturday, Rubio’s campaign sent an email to fundraise off his earlier comments on the Democratic presidential candidates. The email featured an image of Clinton and Sanders, with a line saying the former secretary of state is “under FBI investigation” — a reference to her email scandal during her time leading the State Department — and saying the Vermont senator’s “staffers inappropriately accessed voter data.”
The email then asks Rubio’s supporters if they trust the Democratic presidential candidates by clicking “yes” or “no” buttons, with both answers linking to a fundraising page on Rubio’s website.
On Friday, Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s chief strategist and communications director, also addressed the data breach in a statement, calling the incident with the DNC “troubling.”
“Every candidate has equal access to our superior data file at the RNC because we believe primaries should be a process free from party interference and that puts voters and campaigns first,” Spicer said in the statement. “That’s why it is so troubling to see the DNC engage in such heavy-handed favoritism benefiting Hillary Clinton, a pattern which will continue (Saturday) night with another debate deliberately scheduled to limit viewership.”
Rubio was in South Carolina meeting with voters on Saturday. Rep. Trey Gowdy and Sen. Tim Scott, both of whom represent the Palmetto State, introduced him at campaign events, though they have not revealed who they are endorsing for president.