DELAWARE, Ohio (CNN) — Donald Trump said Thursday he will accept the results of next month’s election — if he wins, a caveat that again threatens to undermine the sanctity of the most fundamental democratic exercise.
“I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election,” the Republican presidential nominee told supporters at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, his first comment since the final presidential debate Wednesday.
After pausing for effect, he said, “… if I win.”
Trump was widely panned by Republicans and Democrats alike after the debate during which he refused to pledge to accept the results of the election, regardless of the winner.
On Thursday, Trump added, “Of course, I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.
Trump again repeated the previously debunked claims of widespread voter fraud as ammunition for why he might not accept the results, and again cited the lack of clarity from 2000’s presidential election.
“We want fairness during the election. This is having nothing to do with me but having to do with the future of our country. We have to have fairness,” Trump said.