Asked directly and repeatedly during Wednesday night's debate, Donald Trump refused to say whether or not he will accept the election day results if he loses to Hillary Clinton on November 8th.
"I will look at it at the time. I'm not looking at anything now," Trump said when asked by moderator Chris Wallace about the Republican candidate's recent comments about the election being "rigged" against him.
"If you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people who are registered to vote" who should not be, said Trump. He then went on to declare that he also considers the process rigged because Clinton "should not be allowed to run" because of the controversy surrounding her State Department emails.
Wallace followed up to Trump's response by referencing the "tradition" in the United States "of the peaceful transfer of power and that no matter how hard fought a campaign is at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner" and then the country "comes together for the good of the country" to move forward. He then asked, "Are you saying now you're not prepared to commit to that principle?"
"What I'm saying," Trump responded, "is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense."
At this point, Clinton interjected, "That's horrifying."
She continued, "Every time Donald thinks things are not going his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him... This is a mindset. This is how Donald thinks. And it's funny, but it's also really troubling."
Watch the exchange:
Reaction on social media was immediate, with critics calling Trump's position "unprecedented" "dangerous" and "disqualifying" for a presidential candidate to hold:
John Adams accepted peaceful transfer of power in 1800. That's been the standard for 216 years. Now Trump says: "I'll keep you in suspense."
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) October 20, 2016
Bri WIlliams seems to call Trump refusing to say he would accept election results "disqualifying."
— Greg Mitchell (@GregMitch) October 20, 2016
— Rebecca Sinderbrand (@sinderbrand) October 20, 2016
The front pages of America’s largest newspapers after the final debate pic.twitter.com/6bcmAUHoJ8
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) October 20, 2016
— Daylin Leach (@daylinleach) October 20, 2016
— Linda Shafran (@lshafran) October 20, 2016
— Tony Varona (@TonyVarona) October 20, 2016
— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosaDC) October 20, 2016
— Eric Klinenberg (@EricKlinenberg) October 20, 2016