Donald Trump’s campaign manager spent the morning after the final presidential debate on the defensive following the Republican presidential nominee’s refusal to say whether he would accept the results of the election regardless of the outcome.
Conway — who on Wednesday said she saw no evidence of potential voter fraud — nevertheless told ABC Thursday morning that the Trump campaign would remain vigilant for instances of such fraud.
“Donald Trump is also putting people on notice that if there are irregularities, if there’s voter fraud, if there’s large-scale malfeasance that’s committed, that he’s not just going not to want to investigate that but we have to see what happens,” Conway said.
She added: “If you look at his first statement and this one taken together, you see somebody who’s willing to accept the election absent widespread fraud.”
Conway’s argument hardly went unchallenged.
In an interview with Chris Cuomo on CNN, the campaign manager attempted to argue that Trump’s speculation about the integrity of the election system was akin to then-Vice President Al Gore’s refusal to concede the 2000 presidential race to then-Gov. George W. Bush.
“Everybody, including Al Gore in 2000, waits to see what those election results are, if they’re verified, if they’re certified. Al Gore himself called to concede that race in 2000, and then called back to retract that concession,” she said.
But Cuomo quickly countered, pointing out that Bush’s slim margin of victory in Florida automatically triggered a recount in the state, which was governed at the time by Bush’s brother, Jeb. Further, Cuomo added, Gore had already won the popular vote nationwide, and it was Bush himself who brought the case to the Supreme Court.
“This is different. Donald Trump is saying right now, with weeks ago, I think it will be rigged against me, so I’m not going to respect it,” Cuomo said. “That’s what not happened in 2000, as we both know very well.”
He added: “This is not an analogy to that. You can disagree. But you said something different. Pence said something different. His daughter said something different than what he said last night. And it sounds not just like whining but disavowing the Democratic process if it doesn’t suit Donald Trump’s personal preference.”
Conway said the Trump campaign was making a larger point about “rigged” systems, arguing that media outlets were biased against the real-estate magnate.
“The system was rigged against him, you know that,” Conway said.
But the discussion became heated when Cuomo countered that Trump was “made by the media.”
“This time it undermined the fundamental process of our democracy, and why can’t you expose that to the light of reason, why can’t you say it was too far?” Cuomo asked.
“Chris, please, can I speak today? Thank you,” Conway replied.
Watch Conway on ‘New Day’ below:
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