Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (FILE)
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WASHINGTON/DELAWARE – Several prominent Republicans on Thursday denounced Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the result of the presidential election, and some worried his stance might make it more difficult for his party to hold onto control of Congress.
Trump’s refusal, which Democratic rival Hillary Clinton called “horrifying”, was the standout remark of their third and final debate on Wednesday night. It ratcheted up Trump's claims that the election was being rigged against him, and became the latest flashpoint in an unusually volatile race three weeks before voters go to the polls.
The Republican candidate reinforced his comment at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, on Thursday, saying he would respect the result “if I win”.
With Trump trailing in opinion polls, the focus ahead of the Noember 8 vote is shifting to Congress, and whether Republicans will keep their narrow majority in the Senate or even their larger advantage in the House of Representatives.
Senator John McCain of Arizona, who lost the 2008 presidential election to Democrat Barack Obama, issued a strong statement saying that accepting the election result is “the American way”.
“I didn’t like the outcome of the 2008 election. But I had a duty to concede, and I did so without reluctance,” said McCain, who has opened a poll lead in his Senate re-election race. “A concession isn’t 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.”
A few other Republicans, mostly those who have never backed Trump, also rejected his comments. Aides to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined requests for comment. (Reuters)