Republican candidate Donald Trump on Thursday said he will accept the results of the U.S. presidential election if he wins.
“I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters, supporters and the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election.
“If I win,’’ he said at a rally in Ohio, pausing before he added the second statement.
He clarified minutes later that he wanted to maintain the right to file a legal challenge if the contest is questionable or close.
He pointed to the 2000 election that ended with a recount in Florida and handed the presidency to George W. Bush.
“I would accept a clear election result, but would also reserve my right to file a contest or legal challenge in the case of a questionable result,” Trump said.
In the debate on Wednesday, Trump refused to say he would concede the U.S. election if he loses to Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
“I will tell you at the time, I will keep you in suspense,” he said.
However, Clinton immediately condemned his stance as “horrifying.”
Trump’s Wednesday remarks had drawn widespread condemnation from members of both political parties who said it went against the most basic traditions of U.S. democracy.
John McCain, who lost the 2008 presidential election to Barack Obama, said in a statement on Thursday that although he did not like that result, he accepted it “without reluctance.’’
“A concession is not 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,” the senator said.
Report says Clinton holds a commanding lead with fewer than three weeks before the November 8 election as the campaign has increasingly devolved into accusations slung by both sides.