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Sunday, January 20, 2019

By Patricia Zengerle and Emily Stephenson

WASHINGTON/DELAWARE, Ohio (Reuters) – Several prominent Republicans on Thursday denounced Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the result of the presidential election, and some worried his stance might make it more difficult for his party to hold onto control of Congress.

Trump’s refusal, which Democratic rival Hillary Clinton called “horrifying,” was the standout remark of their third and final debate on Wednesday night. It ratcheted up Trump’s claims that the election was being rigged against him, and became the latest flashpoint in an unusually volatile race three weeks before voters go to the polls.

The Republican candidate reinforced his comment at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, on Thursday, saying he would respect the result “if I win.”

“Of course I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result,” he said.

With Trump trailing in opinion polls, the focus ahead of the Nov. 8 vote is shifting to Congress, and whether Republicans will keep their narrow majority in the Senate or even their larger advantage in the House of Representatives.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, who lost the 2008 presidential election to Democrat Barack Obama, said accepting the election result is “the American way.”

“I didn’t like the outcome of the 2008 election. But I had a duty to concede, and I did so without reluctance,” McCain, who has opened a poll lead in his Senate re-election race, said in a statement. “A concession isn’t just an exercise in graciousness. It is an act of respect for the will of the American people, a respect that is every American leader’s first responsibility.”

McCain has withdrawn his support for Trump.

Asked on Wednesday night if he would commit to a peaceful transition of power, the businessman-turned-politician replied: “What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. OK?”

Trump’s statement, the most controversial in a debate that at times descended into insults by both candidates, made banner headlines across the country and raised questions about whether he was committed to a peaceful transition of power, a cornerstone of American democracy.

Democrats jumped to ask Republican candidates whether they agreed with Trump, who is making his first run for public office against Clinton, a former first lady, senator and secretary of state.

“Do you agree with Donald Trump to question the results of the election?” the Nevada Democratic Party asked in a release targeting Republican Representative Joe Heck. Heck is in a tight race with Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, a former Nevada attorney general, for the Senate seat held by retiring Democratic leader Harry Reid.

DROWNING OUT POLICY

Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak said down-ballot candidates would distance themselves from Trump’s comment, but it was a problem that the issue had drowned out everything else that came up on Wednesday.

“The real cost is that the post-debate discussion has been consumed by this, and not by his overall very good debate performance and the problems Hillary created for herself on a range of issues,” Mackowiak said.

A CNN/ORC snap poll said 52 percent thought Clinton won the debate, to 39 percent for Trump.

Trump donor and energy investor Dan Eberhart thought Trump won, but disagreed with his rhetoric, although he is sticking with the candidate.

“I think Hillary’s policies and track record are not what the country needs leading us forward for the next four years. And that backs me into supporting Trump,” Eberhart said.

Millions of Americans watched the debate in Las Vegas. However, the television audience was below Clinton and Trump’s record-setting first debate, according to early data cited by U.S. media outlets.

On Twitter, President Obama said Clinton had scored an “Outstanding 3 for 3 debate sweep.” Obama has described Trump as unfit for the White House.

Trump’s words were considered jaw-dropping, but they are not illegal, especially given the strong guarantee of speech rights in the United States.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway on Thursday tried to defend Trump, saying in television interviews he was “putting people on notice” about voting irregularities.

Trump has stepped up allegations that the election is being rigged. He has not offered specific evidence, and numerous studies have shown that the U.S. election system, which is run by the states, is sound.

His comments about vote rigging have come against a backdrop of accusations that Trump had made improper sexual advances to women. A tenth woman came forward on Thursday at a news conference in midtown Manhattan with her attorney, Gloria Allred, a Clinton supporter who for years has specialized in representing women in cases of alleged assault.

Trump campaign spokeswoman Jessica Ditto called the news conference a “coordinated, publicity-seeking attack” by Allred.

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Las Vegas, Michelle Conlin and David Ingram in New York, and Richard Cowan and Susan Heavey in Washington; Writing by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Alistair Bell and Jonathan Oatis)

Photo: U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump smiles after making what he said was a major announcement, that he’d abide by the election results if he won, to supporters at a campaign rally in Delaware, Ohio, U.S. October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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22 responses to “Trump: ‘I Will Respect Election Results If I Win’”

  1. That “Stan Laurel”-like goofy smile on Donald’s face is quite comical, although beneath the smarmy smirk lurks an abnormality the likes of which have never been seen in modern nor ancient times.

    But I digress. Donald can’t shake his haughty and conceited attitude. The fact that he constantly is enamored with himself exceeds the image the Greeks had when they conceived of their being a “god” called Narcissus. Unlike the Greek god who disdained those who loved him, Trump’s dysfunctional personality requires all to love him, and loves to have his face plastered across every form of media, including the commissioning of a 20 foot portrait of himself(using someone else’s money of course).

    The Greek god died as a result of wasting time being infatuated with his image and lost the will to live, and Donald has been wasting his life away and dying a slow and steady death of the soul, his ego consuming him and requiring him to constantly admire himself. What a way to die a spiritual death.

  2. FireBaron says:

    I hope he realizes that if he wishes to file a “legal challenge”, it will have to be in every State where he questions the vote. Not one single vote. Something I have been grousing about for years (the concept of each State running its own election program instead of one single federal run system) could be to all our benefits. That means Teflon Donnie will probably have to file separate challenges in California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, DC, and all the rest of the places where he really has no friends. While Florida MAY be friendly to his cause, considering that the GOP has a stranglehold on that state, any claim of voter fraud outside of what Scott and company will attempt on his behalf, will probably fall flat. And, just think – he will NOT be able to charge the legal filing fees back to his campaign! It’ll all have to come out of his own pocket! (Or maybe that of the Trump Foundation!)

  3. dbtheonly says:

    I heard the comment more as a joke, but with Trump, who can tell?

  4. Jmz Nesky says:

    ‘I Will Respect Election Results If I Win’

    That means he definitely won’t respect the election results if he loses.. Am I putting words in the Trumpkin’s gob? Now the opposition knows what it feels like to assume without fact checking evidence.

  5. Dominick Vila says:

    The best thing we can do, at this late stage in the presidential campaign, is to focus on down ballots. I am not suggesting that we should take our eyes off the ball and let Trump get away with his lies, I just think that it is very important to do whatever we can to ensure our Madam President has a Democratic controlled Senate.

    • Jon says:

      I agree. At this point enough people know what a horrible person Trump is and he proves it every time he speaks. As you say, people should never take their eyes off the ball but at this point more needs to be done to re-take the Senate and increase numbers in the House as much as possible.

    • Anna Maria Yoakum says:

      Definitely ! We need a congress that will work for the betterment of our nation – not against it. Senator McCain has said (and I quote) : “I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that
      Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” McCain said. “I promise
      you. This is where we need the majority.”
      Vote blue all the way down the ballot – just to let the Republicons know we mean business and are sick and tired of their stance of impediment and inpertinence towards the sitting president.

  6. CPANY says:

    National Memo censor: Go to hell.

  7. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    So in other words, no matter how many of us vote, Trump must win or ELSE!!!!! But let’s pretend he understands a single thing about democracy or the US Constitution.

    Trump must stay in the race if, for no other reason, than to hand him the first LOSS and FAILURE of his life. Not that he won’t then take out a class action lawsuit with his dumb bunny followers and supporters and sue all of us, both parties and the media. How else can he possibly replenish his wealth?

    After all it was Trump in the 2nd debate who said he donated “$100 million to his campaign.” Was that a donation or the deal he made with the RNC like Cheney did with Halliburton to finance the 2000 election?

  8. ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

    Trump: ‘I Will Respect Election Results If I Win’// and when DONNY DUMP is and will be the time when he whines crys and blames every one and their mother for how stupid he is . and im sure a special blame will go to his father for making him he the POS he is today

  9. Box says:

    Since Bush stole the election from Gore its been open season on fraud, real or alleged. If Hillary loses, no doubt she will contend the results and rightly so. But neither side will contend if its a landslide. Look how close both Gore and Nixon were, just hundreds of votes. Yes let either side raise a protest in a close vote.

  10. The lucky one says:

    I do realize that Trump’s knuckle dragging followers represent a threat and will likely cause some problems but who cares whether Trump “respects” the outcome of the election? He is a paper tiger who uses threats and intimidation to get his way. that often works against those weaker with less resources but notice how he folds when a strong opponent faces him. where is his threatened lawsuit against the NY Times?

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