Donald Trump and the GOP have seized on Wikileaks’ avalanche of hacked e-mails as a gift of oppo-research gold, but one Republican warns the party about using it. “Tomorrow it could be us,” Marco Rubio told ABC News as he announced that he would not discuss any story sourced entirely from the products of hacking. The hacks are an intrusion of a foreign government into our electoral system, Rubio insists, and “I will not indulge it”:
Sen. Marco Rubio tells ABC News Republicans are making a mistake by jumping on allegedly hacked emails released by Wikileaks to criticize Hillary Clinton. In fact, he says he won’t talk about the hacked emails at all.
“As our intelligence agencies have said, these leaks are an effort by a foreign government to interfere with our electoral process and I will not indulge it,” Rubio tells ABC news. “Further, I want to warn my fellow Republicans who may want to capitalize politically on these leaks: Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow it could be us.”
Rubio’s stand puts him directly at odds with Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee, which have been relentlessly hammering Hillary Clinton and her campaign over the contents of the hacked emails.
Let’s take the practical aspects of this first, and posit that tomorrow it is the GOP’s turn. Hackers release a massive tranche of Trump’s e-mails and perhaps even those within the GOP itself. Would we expect Democrats to avert their eyes and remain silent? Actually, we don’t need to imagine it — someone stole Trump’s tax returns from 20 years ago and sent them off to the media a month ago. The media couldn’t talk enough about the data, especially the massive losses Trump claimed, and speculated to no end that Trump hadn’t paid taxes since then with no evidence to support those claims. Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, had a field day with them — in fact, Tim Kaine tried making them an answer to every debate question and turned himself into a minor laughingstock.
Ethically, Rubio might be on more solid ground. We’ve discussed that on a couple of occasions this week on Relevant Radio, but the truth is that the information has been released into the public square. Any discussion of them should take into account the full context surrounding them — that these were private conversations within private organizations, and that their release might be serving the goals of a foreign government. But the genie is out of the bottle, and remaining silent on his presence won’t put him back into it. And, as noted above, no one in the Democratic Party seemed terribly concerned about the ethics of publicizing the private tax returns of a private-sector businessman … or for that matter, few on the Left complained when the same thing happened to the National Organization for Marriage a few years ago either. And NOM wasn’t running for office.
Finally, Rubio can afford to take this stance, because very little if any of the information coming out of Wikileaks will have anything to do with Patrick Murphy. Rubio can certainly speak for himself, but if he was running against Hillary Clinton and had his private financial records exposed, would he still feel the same way?