Florida Sen. Marco Rubio sent a clear message to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and the rest of the GOP on Wednesday about how they should respond to the WikiLeaks hack of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman: Keep quiet because we could be the next target.
“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 said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Rubio, a member of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, followed his own advice by refusing to acknowledge any of the revelations exposed by the WikiLeaks’ hack and referring to the warning by U.S. intelligence services that the hack could be perpetrated by a foreign government.
“I will not discuss any issue that has become public solely on the basis of Wikileaks,” Rubio said. “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 followed up his statement during a campaign stop in Tampa – he is running for reelection to the Senate – where he said that that giving credibility to hacks targeting U.S. officials could be “an invitation to chaos and havoc.”
“Just think about this: Do we really want to be a country where foreign leaders or foreign intelligence agencies can blackmail our elected officials and say to them that 'Unless you do what we want you to do, we’re going to release emails from your campaign manager, your wife, your daughter, your son and we’re going to embarrass you. So unless you want to be embarrassed you better do what we want you to do.' Is that what we want?” Rubio said, according to Politico.
He added: “Because I’ll tell you that’s what Vladimir Putin does. I think there’s plenty of material on which to line up and take on Secretary Clinton. I think this one is an invitation to chaos and havoc in the future.”
The Florida senator's warning marks a clear break from Trump and some of his surrogates, who have used the hack to bash Clinton while encouraging reporters to research the information themselves.
WikiLeaks' day-after-day release of thousands of hacked emails from the Clinton campaign has been largely overshadowed by sexual assault allegations that have been levied against Trump. The emails include excerpts of Clinton's closed-door speeches to Wall Street investors and lots of campaign strategizing over how to contain the political damage related to her use of a private email server to house State Department emails.
The final presidential debate Wednesday night will give Trump a fresh opportunity to make a comeback in the closing weeks of the campaign.