In a defiant moment, Donald Trump last night suggested he might not accept the result of the vote on Nov. 8.
“I will look at it at the time,” Trump said when asked during last night’s final presidential debate whether he will accept a loss at the ballot box.
“I will keep you in suspense … I think the voters are seeing through it,” Trump said, referring to his claim that the election is being “rigged” in favor of Hillary Clinton.
The answer left open the possibility the Republican would break a long American tradition of losing candidates conceding defeat and accepting the outcome.
“That’s horrifying,” Clinton said. “Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he thinks whatever it is, is rigged against him.”
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway later said, “Donald Trump will accept the results of the election because he’s going to win the election, so they will be easy to accept. … Do you remember 2000 when Al Gore contested the election? He actually retracted his concession to George W. Bush.” Conway raised the possibility of media collusion making the election unfair and the possibility of “widespread voting irregularity.”
At one point, the showdown turned into a contest of who was the least corrupt. Trump said Clinton has lied “hundreds of times,” raising controversies over The Clinton Foundation, an undercover video showing Democrats inciting violence at Trump rallies, her private email server and a private meeting on a tarmac between former President Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
“John Podesta said you have terrible instincts,” Trump said. “Bernie Sanders said you have terrible judgment. I agree with both.”
Clinton went after allegations from women who have accused Trump of sexual assault and tried to make the election a referendum on the billionaire’s temperament.
“Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger,” Clinton said. “He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don’t think there’s a woman anywhere who doesn’t know what that feels like.”
She added: “I think it’s really up to all of us to demonstrate who we are and what our country is and to stand up and to be very clear about what we expect from our next president.”
— KTVU (@KTVU) October 20, 2016
The debate heated up initially as a clash over immigration policy turned into a name-calling fest, with Trump and Clinton accusing each other of being Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dupes.
Clinton accused Trump of benefitting from the WikiLeaks release of hacked emails of her campaign chairman’s account because Putin wants the brash billionaire to occupy the White House.
“He’d rather have a puppet for president of the United States,” Clinton said.
“No, you’re the puppet,” Trump retorted.
“She doesn’t like Putin because Putin has outsmarted her every step of the way,” Trump later added.
The debate was held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and was moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News Channel.
Trump and Clinton did not shake hands before the start of the debate — for the second straight time.
Watching debate in enormous room of media in Vegas. Press laughs and cheers for Hillary and groans and gasps when Trump speaks. #inthetank
— Jesse Watters (@JesseBWatters) October 20, 2016
Trump also called Clinton “such a nasty woman” after she suggested he would try to find a way to avoid paying the extra taxes she’s proposing on the wealthy.
There are also fewer undecided voters now than before the first debate. But with 19 days to go, Trump still reeling from sexual assault allegations, Clinton slowly dinged each day by new WikiLeaks email revelations, and the possibility of major breaking news, the campaign could still be shaken up.
Clinton leads Trump, 47-40 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday
She also leads by 9 points, 47-38 percent, in a Bloomberg poll that also came out yesterday.
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