President Barack Obama has said Republican Donald Trump’s insistence that he might not accept the election result is “dangerous”, BBC reports
Speaking at a campaign rally in Miami for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the president said Mr Trump’s comments undermined American democracy.
Mr Trump refused in a televised debate to say he would accept the outcome of the election on 8 November. He later said he would accept a “clear” result but left a challenge open.
Speaking in Ohio on Thursday, Mr Trump said, with a grin: “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 – if I win.”
Hours later, the president said that sowing the seeds of doubt in people’s minds about the legitimacy of US elections provided a boost to the country’s enemies.
“You’re doing the work of our adversaries for them, because our democracy depends on people knowing that their vote matters,” said Mr Obama.
Mr Trump has been heavily criticised by many in his own party by suggesting he might not accept the election result. For days, he has claimed the election is rigged against him, due to media bias and voter fraud.
During Wednesday night’s debate with Mrs Clinton, when moderator Chris Wallace asked Mr Trump if he would accept losing to her, the Republican nominee said he would “keep you in suspense”.
Mr Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, later insisted that the candidate had meant he would not concede until the “results are actually known”.
Republican Senator John McCain, who lost to Mr Obama eight years ago, said: “A concession isn’t just an exercise in graciousness. It is an act of respect for the will of the American people, a respect that is every American leader’s first responsibility.”
First Lady Michelle Obama also joined the attack on Thursday, saying “you do not keep American democracy in suspense”.
What happens next?
- Within hours, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will come face-to-face again, at a white-tie gala at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York. Both will make speeches, with tradition dictating the candidates deliver humorous remarks poking fun at themselves and each other, which could be awkward, given how ugly the campaign has become. The bitter rivals will sit one seat apart, with New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan in the middle.
- The two candidates will spend the remaining 18 days before the election criss-crossing the US in their bid to persuade undecided voters. Expect to see lots of appearances in battleground states such as Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania.
- Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday 8 November to decide who becomes the 45th President of the United States
- The new president will be inaugurated on 20 January 2017