In the hours before the final presidential debate, Donald Trump’s surrogates and campaign staffers offered repeated assurances that the Republican nominee would accept the results of the presidential election. But on the debate stage Wednesday night, Trump suggested that might not be the case.
“He’ll either win or he won’t win, and I believe he’ll accept the outcome either way,” his daughter, Ivanka Trump, said at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit on Wednesday.
“I’ve said before that we’ll certainly accept the outcome of this election,” vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said on CNN.
During the debate, Trump said his plan is to “keep you in suspense.”
“I will look at it at the time,” he said, prompting swift criticism from members of both parties.
Donald Trump has ramped up accusations in the past week that the presidential election will be rigged, presenting without evidence a claim that undermines the legitimacy of the democratic process. Election officials and members of both parties have condemned and dismissed Trump’s claims. President Obama on Tuesday called them “irresponsible” and “unprecedented.”
Trump supporters sought to spin the nominee’s fairly blunt debate comments in interviews after the debate.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Trump would accept the outcome. “He’ll accept the results of the election, 100%,” RNC spokesperson Sean Spicer said. “He will accept the results. No question about it.”