Donald Trump on Friday called on the public to boycott Apple over its refusal to create a "backdoor" that would help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorists.
"First of all, Apple should give the security for the phone, OK," the Republican presidential candidate said at a rally in South Carolina. "What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such time that they give the security number. Boycott Apple."
Trump said the iPhone in question wasn't even owned "by this young thug that killed all these people."
Authorities said the phone was actually owned by a San Bernardino County agency and issued to the gunman, Syed Rizwan Farook, an employee. However, the iPhone is protected with a password, preventing the FBI from accessing the encrypted data as part of their ongoing activation.
Trump later tweeted that he uses an iPhone, but if Apple refuses to assist the FBI, he would only use his Samsung phone.
A federal judge this week ordered Apple to help the FBI create a way to break into the phone.
The Department of Justice on Friday escalated the government's legal battle with Apple when it filed a motion to compel the technology company to unlock the iPhone, calling its refusal to do so a "marketing" stunt.
Trump said Apple CEO Tim Cook was "looking to do a big number, probably to show how liberal he is."
"We got to get to the bottom of it," Trump said, referring to the investigation into the terror attack. "And you're not gonna get to the bottom of it until we use common sense. So I like the idea...boycott Apple until such time that they give that information."
Moments later, however, Trump appeared to be tweeting from an iPhone, according to TweetDeck. He sent this at 4 p.m. ET:
A short time later, however, Trump appeared to have made the switch away from his iPhone.
BuzzFeed News asked Trump's spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, if she and other campaign staffers who use Apple products would be expected to also abandon their devices, but did not immediately receive a response.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at email@example.com.
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