TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – During Wednesday night’s final presidential debate, Donald Trump reversed course on a previous debate promise and said he would not accept the results of the presidential election.
“I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I’ll look at it at the time,” Trump said. “I’ll keep you in suspense”
Thursday at a rally in Ohio, he clarified what he meant.
“I will totally accept results of this great, historic presidential election…if I win!”
Political leaders on both sides say his refusal undermines the sanctity of our country’s most fundamental democratic exercise. Democratic Representative Kathy Castor said, “There is a lot of skepticism about government today and the only way we’re are going to be able to work together and get things accomplished for the American people, is if we come together after the election.” .
Republican Congressman David Jolly agrees.
“The fact is we have a free and fair election here in the United States. They are not rigged and both candidates should express confidence in accepting the final outcome,” Jolly said.
But what effect will Trump’s refusal have on the election process? Political analyst Dr. Ed Benton said Trump needs to expand his base and attract non-Republican and Independent voters, and this probably didn’t help.
“But people who might have had an inkling of supporting him and overlooking his indiscretion probably were turned off by it,” he said. “So it hurt him I think.”
Trump said he would accept a clear election result, but reserves the right to contest or file a legal challenge.