Donald Trump might not go quietly if he loses the general election to Hillary Clinton.
During Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace noted that both Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, said in recent days that Trump would absolutely respect the results of the Nov. 8 election— and then asked the GOP nominee himself if they were right.
Not so fast, said Trump. “I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking into anything right now.”
The candidate then offered three purported reasons why he would not necessarily concede on election night: the “dishonest” media, concerns about voter fraud and concerns about Clinton as a legitimate candidate.
Regarding voter fraud, Trump explained — without citing evidence — “if you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote.”
And he lashed out at Clinton, saying “she shouldn’t be allowed to run. She’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run, and just in that respect I say it’s rigged. She never should have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with emails and so many other things.”
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Wallace sounded taken aback.
“There is a tradition in this country — in fact, one of the prides of this country is the peaceful transition of power. No matter how hard-fought the campaign, at the end, the loser concedes to the winner … and the country comes together,” Wallace said to Trump. “Are you saying you’re not prepared to adhere to that principle?”
“What I am saying,” Trump responded, “is I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”
“That’s horrifying,” Clinton interjected.
She said it’s Trump’s m.o. to cry “rigged” whenever things don’t go his way.
“The FBI conducted a yearlong investigation into my e-mails. They concluded there was no case. He said the FBI was rigged. 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 claims the court system and the federal judge is 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 tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him,” she said.
Trump leaned into his mic and intoned, “Should have gotten in.”
While some in the audience laughed, Clinton continued: “This is a mindset. This is how Donald thinks and it’s funny but it is also really troubling.”
His stunning reply was foreshadowed by increasing talk on the campaign trail about the election being rigged against him. And first thing Wednesday morning, the Trump campaign blasted out a fundraising email letter over Trump’s signature, pledging to “end this election with a FIGHT.”