Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks as he participates in the first presidential debate of the 2024 elections with President Joe Biden in Atlanta, Georgia on June 27, 2024.

(Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

'Wannabe Dictator' Donald Trump Won't Commit to Accepting Election Results

"His candidacy remains an existential threat to our democracy and the very communities he scapegoats on the campaign trail," said one campaigner.

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on Thursday refused to commit to accepting the results of his looming rematch with incumbent President Joe Biden, the latest indication that the former president is bent on sowing potentially violent chaos as he seeks another four years in the White House.

Asked several times during Thursday night's debate in Atlanta whether he would accept the outcome of the November election, Trump demurred, veered off course, downplayed the January 6, 2021 insurrection as "a relatively small number of people that went to the Capitol," and repeated lies about election fraud.

Eventually, Trump said in response to a yes-or-no question from CNN's Dana Bash that he would accept the results "if it's a fair and legal and good election," suggesting he would only view the contest as legitimate if he wins.

"I would have much rather accepted these but the fraud and everything else was ridiculous," said Trump, falsely insisting the 2020 election was stolen. "If you want, we'll have a news conference on it in a week."

Alejandra Gomez, executive director of Living United for Change in Arizona, said Trump's election remarks make clear he is "still the same wannabe dictator he was during his first term" and that "his candidacy remains an existential threat to our democracy and the very communities he scapegoats on the campaign trail."

"If Donald Trump wins in November he will unleash an all-out attack on our institutions from the media to our Justice Department," Gomez added, referring to the former president's threat to weaponize arms of the federal government against his political opponents.

Stand Up America's Christina Harvey echoed Gomez's warning, saying in a statement that Thursday night's debate underscored "the extraordinary danger that Donald Trump poses to our democracy."

"Trump refused to denounce the January 6 insurrection, would not promise to accept the election results, bragged about ending Roe v. Wade, and spewed endless lies and conspiracy theories," said Harvey. "The stakes in this year's election are enormous, and the future of our democracy and our fundamental freedoms are on the line. We cannot let Trump ever step foot in the Oval Office again."

The dire threat Trump and his far-right allies pose to U.S. democracy, fundamental freedoms, the climate, workers, and more served to amplify concerns among Democratic insiders and outside progressives about Biden's stumbling performance Thursday night, which solidified for many that he is the wrong person to take on the former president in November.

"I'm not saying that Joe Biden is going to lose the presidential election because of tonight's debate. The race is still ridiculously too close to call at this point," saidZeteo's Mehdi Hasan following the Atlanta event. "But it's not looking good. And what I am saying is that you're deluded if you believe Joe Biden, at this stage of his life, is the best person Democrats have to offer against Donald Trump, against a fascist."

"Small-d American democracy, if it is to survive, needs Democrats—big-d Democrats—to put their big boy pants on and get their act together," Hasan added.

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