Donald Trump‘s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway responded to debate criticism over Trump saying he might not accept the results of the 2016 Presidential election by likening the Republican’s response to Democrat Al Gore’s concession during the 2000 Presidential election.
During Wednesday’s debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would accept the election results on Nov. 8. Trump didn’t clearly respond, saying, “I will look at it at the time.” When pressed by Wallace for a clearer answer about conceding, Trump responded, “What I’m saying is that I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”
Following the debate, Conway said Gore contested the 2000 election:
Gore won the popular vote, but lost the election by electoral votes — the fourth time that has happened in American history. Gore and then-Gov. George W. Bush went to court over recounting votes in Florida, which the Supreme Court decided was unconstitutional.
On Dec. 13, 2000, Gore made his public concession speech: “Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College.”
Hillary Clinton called Trump’s comments “horrifying.”
“You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him,” Clinton said. “The FBI conducted a year-long investigation into my e-mails. They concluded there was no case. He said that the FBI was rigged. He lost the Iowa caucus; he lost the Wisconsin primary. He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering. He claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him. There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged.”
A number of Republicans and conservatives reacted to Trump‘s answer. South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham said if Trump loses, it isn’t because of a “rigged” election system, but because “he failed as a candidate.”
The Republican National Committee responded by saying it will accept the election results.
In Gore’s concession speech, he quoted Sen. Stephen Douglas, who lost to Abraham Lincoln in a hotly contested 1860 election, saying, “Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism. I’m with you, Mr. President, and God bless you.”
Gore added: “Well, in that same spirit, I say to President-elect Bush that what remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside, and may God bless his stewardship of this country. Neither he nor I anticipated this long and difficult road. Certainly neither of us wanted it to happen. Yet it came, and now it has ended, resolved, as it must be resolved, through the honored institutions of our democracy.”