Trump pivots, promises to accept election results 'if I win'

Credit: Drew Angerer

Credit: Drew Angerer

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pledged on Thursday to accept the results of November's elections with one small caveat – he has to win.

"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," Trump said as a crowd gathered in Delaware, Ohio, burst into cheers.

He made the statement a day after he refused to promise during a presidential debate that he would accept the election's results.

"There is a tradition in this country – in fact, one of the prides of this country – is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner," moderator Chris Wallace said Wednesday night. "Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?"

"What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense," Trump said.

Trump said on Thursday he would accept the results of a "clear election" but would reserve his right to contest the outcome.

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"And of course, I will abide by all the rules and traditions of all the candidates who have come before me," he said before promising that "we are going to win so big."

Trump has been criticized over the course of the campaign for failing to release his tax returns, a tradition that has been followed by presidential candidates for more than 40 years.

He reiterated claims that the upcoming election will be rigged.

"Some people vote even if they're dead, which is hard to do," Trump said. "But it's easy if there's fraud involved."

There is no evidence of large-scale voter fraud, as the GOP presidential nominee claims. A statement to that effect earned a "pants on fire" rating from Politifact, meaning that it has no basis in fact.

Trump has been widely condemned for the claim. At a news conference Tuesday, President Barack Obama criticized the GOP nominee.

"There's no evidence that that has happened in the past or that there are instances in which that would happen this time. And so I would advise Mr. Trump to stop whining and go make his case to try to get votes," Obama said.

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