JUST IN: Trump: “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election… if I win” https://t.co/4z453rVzqK
— CNN (@CNN) October 20, 2016
The moment from Wednesday’s third and final presidential debate that generated the greatest reaction was, without a doubt, Donald Trump‘s indication that he would leave voters “in suspense” as to whether he would accept the results of November 8’s election. At a Thursday rally in Delaware, Ohio, the Republican nominee doubled down on his position, saying, “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election,” before slowly adding, “If I win.”
Trump went on to clarify that he would “accept a clear election result,” but would reserve his right to mount a legal challenge to a result that he concludes might have been manipulated.
Over the past several weeks, Trump has begun planting doubt in his supporters’ minds as to the veracity of election results by frequently citing media bias and conjuring images of voter fraud. For this, Trump has been widely criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike, including President Obama.
After the debate on Wednesday, certain cable news analysts compared Trump’s statement to Al Gore‘s actions during the 2000 election, a notion that was quickly rebuffed when it was noted that the initial margin in Florida triggered an automatic recount and that Gore never called into question the legitimacy of the electoral process — and certainly not before votes had been cast.