NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Donald Trump demanded Friday that Apple submit to a government request that it break into the iPhone of one of the two people involved in the San Bernardino terrorist attack, saying the company needs to help the country be stronger in fighting terrorism.
“They’re going to open up the phone. It’s owned by the government,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in South Carolina ahead of Saturday’s GOP presidential primary here.
Mr. Trump on Twitter called for consumers to boycott Apple in retaliation for the company challenging the FBI’s request.
The issue is already dividing Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are grappling with the balance between security and privacy.
Hearings have been scheduled to try to bring FBI Director James Comey and Apple CEO Tim Cook together.
The fight over the San Bernardino phone comes as Congress and the White House are debating how far to go in requiring phone companies to include a “backdoor” so the government can gain access to information when it deems it necessary.
Sen. Marco Rubio, one of Mr. Trump’s competitors, said this week that passing a law wouldn’t help, because it would only push production off-shore. He said there is no “magic solution,” but said tech companies and the government need to work on a compromise.
But Mr. Trump, who has insisted he will be the most aggressive leader when it comes to combatting terrorism, said Apple is risking American security.
“We have to be smart. We have to look at see what’s going on. Let Apple open up the phones,” he said.