The major Republican candidates for president have been taking shots at Apple (AAPL) for resisting a court order to help the FBI unlock a terrorist’s iPhone, with Donald Trump going so far as to call for a boycott of Apple.
At Thursday night’s debate, Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz along with Ben Carson joined in on bashing the most valued U.S. company for opposing the FBI. “Apple doesn’t want to do it because they think it hurts their brand,” Rubio said. “Well, let me tell you, their brand is not superior to the national security of the United States of America.” Cruz and Carson made similar remarks.
But that hasn’t stopped the candidates’ campaigns from relying on Apple products. Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Carson all sent tweets from an iPhone or iPad over their official accounts in the past two days. The social networking service records the software used to send every 140-character burst, often also revealing the type of hardware device the sender used.
Trump’s tweet on Thursday with a picture of him signing his tax return was sent from the Twitter (TWTR) app on the iPhone.
Most of the tweets on the accounts of Cruz, Rubio and Carson were sent via software such as Tweetdeck, which is commonly used in professional social networking campaigns. But each candidate also sent a tweet from an Apple device.
On Wednesday, Rubio and Cruz both responded to praise from followers with tweets from an iPhone or iPad.
And also on Wednesday, Carson’s account tweeted a foreign policy statement from the Twitter iPhone app.
The candidates’ positions come as Apple made a court filing challenging the FBI’s demand that the company create new software to weaken the security of the iPhone belonging to deceased San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook. Apple’s filing said such a demand goes beyond the scope of current law and violates its First and Fifth Amendment constitutional rights.
Public opinion polls have differed over which side has the most support. A Pew Research poll released on Feb. 22 found 51% of people agreeing that Apple should unlock the San Bernardino iPhone and 38% opposed, with 11% undecided. But a Reuters poll released Feb. 24 found 46% favored Apple, 35% sided with the FBI and 20% said they were unsure.
On the Apple vs. the FBI question at the debate, after Rubio responded, Cruz and Carson made similar statements: “Apple should be forced to comply with this court order,” Cruz said. “Apple doesn’t have a right to defy a valid court order in a terrorism investigation.”
“I would expect Apple to comply with the court order,” Carson said. “If they don’t comply with that, you’re encouraging chaos in our system.”
Yahoo Finance asked the Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Carson campaigns for comment. This story will be updated with any responses.
Only Ohio Gov. John Kasich took a different tack on the Apple question at the debate. Instead of blaming Apple, he took aim at the president, saying the nation’s leader should force the two sides to come to a compromise.
“The problem is not right now between the administration and Apple,” Kasich said. “You know what the problem is? Where’s the president been? You sit down in a back room and you sit down with the parties and you get this worked out.”
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- Marco Rubio
- Ben Carson
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- Donald Trump