Donald Trump hinted Wednesday he will not accept the results of the November 8 election if he loses, an apparent rejection of the American political system he claims is "rigged."
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton called his statement “horrifying” and accused the GOP candidate of “talking down our democracy.”
Trump's stated refusal to accept the vote of Americans if/when he loses the election should disqualify him from standing for the presidency.— John Dean (@JohnWDean) October 20, 2016
Despite the efforts of moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, the last presidential debate between Trump and Clinton descended into heated and bitter arguments over Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and Trump’s alleged sexual assaults.
In one of the night’s most memorable lines — after Trump said Vladimir Putin “has no respect for [Clinton]” — she shot back, “well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet for president of the United States.”
Trump’s response: “No puppet. No puppet. You’re the puppet.”
"Wrong." "Loser." "My turn." This sounds exactly like our daycare when we're at our worst. #debatenight— Los Feliz Daycare (@LosFelizDaycare) October 20, 2016
And much of the night went like that, with Trump denouncing Clinton’s remarks as “lies” or “wrong,” and with both candidates talking over Wallace, a Fox News personality trying to keep Wednesday’s debate on the rails.
“Please, everybody,” an exasperated Wallace cajoled after the Las Vegas debate audience erupted in laughter when Trump said, “nobody has more respect for women than I do.”
He was answering a question about his “fitness” to be president, given the number of women who have come forward to claim Trump had groped or kissed them against their will.
He denied all their allegations and said they were either out for fame or coerced into making false statements by the Clinton campaign.
"I didn’t even apologize to my wife who is sitting right here, because I didn’t do anything," Trump said, referring to Melania Trump.
That contradicts what she said in public after the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape emerged earlier this month.
"This does not represent the man that I know,” she said in a television interview. “He has the heart and mind of a leader. I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world."
Asked if he would accept the November 8 election results no matter what, Trump replied, “I will look at it at the time,” and repeated his assertions that the election system is “rigged” and there is widespread voter fraud with “millions” of people wrongly registered to cast ballots.
Clinton also called those remarks “horrifying,” and repeated a litany of times he has claimed a system was rigged — from the FBI investigation of her emails, to his losses in the Wisconsin primary and the Iowa caucuses, to Trump University being sued for fraud and racketeering.
“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,” she said.
Trumped jumped in, “Should have gotten it.”
Other highlights of the bumpy night:
About the sexual abuse allegations against Trump, Clinton said, “Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. I don’t think there’s a woman anywhere who doesn’t know what that feels like.”
Asked about abortion, the nominees argued over the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Roe v. Wade case. Trump said he would appoint justices that would overturn the landmark ruling. Clinton said she wholeheartedly endorsed a woman’s right to choose, even in the last months of pregnancy. That prompted Trump to declare, “If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother.”
Wallace suggested that both candidates’ economic plans would increase the national debt. Trump rejected that, saying he would “create tremendous jobs.” When Clinton chided Trump for his boasts about not paying taxes, he interrupted: “Such a nasty woman.”
I can't watch the debate but I heard Trump just mentioned these guys? pic.twitter.com/4twlwptCN3— billy eichner (@billyeichner) October 20, 2016
Trump bashed the Clinton Foundation, and dared her to return donations from countries such as Saudi Arabia, which has a record of human rights abuses and harsh treatment of women. She in turn accused his Trump Foundation of using money to commission a six-foot portrait of Trump himself. “Who does that?” she asked.
Trump again advocated building a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying illegal drugs and immigrants were destroying America.
"We have some bad hombres here, and we're going to get them out," Trump said. That ignited a Twitter outcry with the hashtag #BadHombre.