Donald Trump refused to say at Wednesday’s final presidential debate whether he would accept the results of the election if he loses.
Debate moderator Chris Wallace asked the Republican presidential nominee whether he would honour the election results despite his unfounded declaration that the election may be “rigged” against him.
“I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I’ll look at it at the time,” Trump replied.
Pressed again by Wallace moments later, Trump said he’ll “keep you in suspense” about his decision.
The real-estate magnate criticised media outlets for supposedly colluding to “rig” the election against him, going on to criticise Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.
“She shouldn’t be allowed to run. She’s guilty of a very very serious crime,” Trump said. “She should never have been allowed to run for the presidency of emails and so many other things.”
Clinton called Trump’s baseless assertion that the election may be rigged “horrifying,” saying that over the course of American history “we’ve accepted outcomes even when we didn’t like them.”
“Every time Donald thinks things are not going his way, he thinks whatever it is is rigged against him,” Clinton said.
She continued: “He lost the Iowa caucus, he lost the Wisconsin primary. He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then, Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering. He claimed the court system and the federal judge was rigged against him. There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row, and he started saying the Emmy’s were rigged against him.”
“Should have gotten it,” Trump interjected, smiling.
“This is a mindset. This is how Donald thinks. It’s funny but also really troubling,” Clinton said.
She added moments later: “Let’s be clear about what he’s saying. He’s denigrating, he’s talking down our democracy.”
Over the past week, Trump and many of his top campaign surrogates have increasingly attempted to raise doubts about the integrity of the election system in some states, arguing that there may be a widespread conspiracy to “rig” the election against Trump.
“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day,” Trump tweeted Monday morning. “Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!”
A number of prominent Republicans in party leadership positions and state leaders who oversee the election at the state level have criticised Trump’s inflammatory claim.
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