U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Friday said there was “no comparison whatsoever” between his use of a private email account for state business while he was governor of Indiana and the email woes of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time in government became a major point of criticism against her as the Democratic nominee during the 2016 presidential election by Pence, the running mate of President Donald Trump, and others involved in the Republican campaign.
“There’s no comparison whatsoever between Hillary Clinton’s practice, having a private server that was handling classified information, destroying emails that were requested by the Congress and by officials,” Pence told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Wisconsin.
A photo of Clinton glancing at a newspaper headline about the issue has gone viral on social media, with thousands of people commenting on it.
Clinton was on an airplane traveling from Boston to New York on Friday when a fellow passenger snapped a photo of her glancing down at Friday’s USA Today newspaper front page headline “Pence used personal email in office.”
During the campaign, Pence and others involved in the Republican presidential campaign last year criticized Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as U.S. Secretary of State.
Pence’s use of an AOL email account was first reported by the Indianapolis Star on Thursday. The newspaper said Pence used the account at times to discuss sensitive matters and homeland security issues. The account was hacked last summer, the newspaper reported.
Pence said he complied with Indiana laws in his use of the email account, and he had an outside attorney review his private email records and archive those related to state business.
During the campaign, Trump and Pence said Clinton’s use of a private server broke the law and endangered national security – complaints that led their supporters to chant “Lock her up!” at rallies.
The State Department’s internal watchdog said Clinton’s use of a private server broke department rules. The FBI reviewed her emails for classified material, but it found that no criminal charges were warranted.
FBI Director James Comey, however, said Clinton and her colleagues were “careless” with classified information.
Clinton’s staff turned over thousands of emails to the State Department in late 2014. Her team said emails that were not related to government work were deleted, although they said that direction was given before lawmakers issued a subpoena for them.
A White House spokeswoman said Pence was not subject to federal laws as governor, unlike Clinton, and did not handle classified information.
“There’s light years of difference” between the use of private email by Pence and Clinton, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.