Even These Extremely Partisan Republicans Disavow Trump's Refusal to Accept the Election Results
Criticism continues to mount against Donald Trump for his refusal to say he would accept the results of the election, if he loses. But while some of his more unhinged supporters, like Sarah Palin, insist Trump's accepting the legitimacy of the election would betray those who "died" for freedom, other prominent Republicans are despondent over their nominee's response last night.
Sen. Lindsey Graham
Graham, who's been a staunch critic of the Republican nominee since the primaries, slammed Trump for his coy refusal to say he'd accept the results of the election outright. In a statement, Graham said he has "confidence in our democracy and election system," adding Trump "is doing the party and country a great disservice by continuing to suggest the outcome of this election is out of his hands and 'rigged' against him."
"If he loses, it will not be because the system is 'rigged' but because he failed as a candidate," Graham added.
The conservative commentator and strident Trump supporter also took issue with the Republican nominee's suggestion that he may not accept the outcome, tweeting "there is no other option."
He should have said he would accept the results of the election. There is no other option unless we're in a recount again.— Laura Ingraham (@Laura Ingraham)1476930198.0
But Ingraham's criticism of the candidate stopped there. Like many Trump apologists, she argued "many of Clinton's supporters questioned the legitimacy of George W. Bush's presidency for 8 years after the recount," which of course isn't the same thing as a candidate outright refusing to accept the election results.
Schmidt, a Republican strategist, told MSNBC Wednesday that Trump's remark was "a disqualifying moment," adding "it's a clear and present danger to our constitutional order, to the republic."
“It’s unprecedented in this history of the country," he continued. "Constitutional officers like Paul Ryan are now at an hour where they’re called to step forward, to exhibit political courage, to put the country first and to communicate very clearly that we have legitimate elections in this country and that is how we choose our leaders.”
Steele, who served as the first black chairperson of the Republican National Committee, criticized Trump on Twitter, writing "his answer inflicts serious damage to his campaign," adding "in the end the American people want to know if you can be a good loser."
Speaking with Fox News Wednesday night, the conservative commentator called Trump's refusal to accept the election a "terrible mistake."
"This is political suicide," he added.
Krauthhammer said while Americans want change, "they don’t want a radical that will challenge the foundations of the Republic."
"Yes, you criticize conditions," he continued. "You’re going to change Washington, etc. But you don’t challenge the legitimacy of an election and hold up the prospect of actual nonacceptance. And when he did that, I think it was a terrible mistake.”
While Hewitt, a conservative commentator, thought Trump "won 14 of 15 rounds," he said the Republican candidate "hit himself on the head" with his "rigged election" talk.
"It is outside the norm of American political rhetoric to express a contingent acceptance of the result," Hewitt said.
“The contingent nature of his commitment to the results is unsettling to many people," he observed.
Republican National Committee
RNC communications director Sean Spicer seemed to throw cold water on the notion of a contested election, insisting "this won't be an issue" because Trump is going to win the election.
“But regardless, you know, we’re going to accept the results and the will of the people,” Spicer said, insisting Trump will “accept the results of the election 100 percent.”