Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has raised $100,000 online in the last five days in part because of a backlash against articles in The New York Times believed to be actively discrediting him, according to Politico.
A story by the Times last week detailed how Rubio was cited four times in 18 years for minor traffic violations while his wife received 13.
The report said that the Rubios received tickets for violations that include speeding, driving through red lights, and careless driving.
The report was ridiculed by pundits and those on social media who felt the paper was trying to undermine his candidacy. An ironic hashtag was created on Twitter after the story: #RubioCrimeSpree.
On Tuesday, the Times published another story, headlined, "Struggles with Finances Track Marco Rubio's Career," which said that Rubio stands out not only for his youth and dramatic political rise, but also for persistent doubts about his personal financial management.
"A review of the Rubio family's finances — including many new documents — reveals a series of decisions over the past 15 years that experts called imprudent: significant debts; a penchant to spend heavily on luxury items like the [$80,000 speed] boat and the lease of a $50,000 2015 Audi Q7; a strikingly low savings rate, even when Mr. Rubio was earning large sums; and inattentive accounting that led to years of unpaid local government fees," the Times said.
The Times also said that, separate to his personal spending patterns, there were instances in which he intermingled personal and political money. He used a state Republican Party credit card to pay for a paving project to his home and travel to a family reunion. He also put relatives on campaign payrolls.
It, too, drew criticism on social media, and another hashtag sprung up: #RubioSpendingSpree, where tweeters post sarcastic ways Rubio wasted money.
In response to the stories, the Rubio campaign hit back.
"First, The New York Times attacks Marco over traffic tickets, and now they think he doesn't have enough money," said Rubio spokesman Alex Conant.
"Of course, if he was worth millions, the Times would then attack him for being too rich, like they did to Mitt Romney."
Separate to the spike in donations, The Week says
that the Times stories are unlikely to negatively impact Rubio's chances in his bid for the White House.
"Rubio will emerge from these New York Times stories unscathed, perhaps even in a stronger position since it's always good for a Republican candidate to be at war with the media," The Week said. "But other reporters will presumably keep digging."
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