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Trump says he'll accept election results, 'if I win'

Donald Trump vowed today to accept the outcome of the presidential election, just so long as he's the winner.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally, Oct. 13, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Evan Vucci/AP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally, Oct. 13, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Donald Trump is no doubt aware of the controversy he created last night when he refused to say whether or not he would accept the outcome of the election. On the campaign trail in Ohio today, the Republican nominee responded to concerns in the most Trump-like way possible.

The GOP nominee doubled down on controversial and unprecedented claims that he may not accept the results on November 8, first made at the third and final presidential debate Wednesday.Warning of a "major announcement," Trump led off his first public appearance since the debate with the "promise and pledge" to his supporters: "I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election -- if I win." The brief pause and defiant words that came after it immediately incited cheers from the crowd.

Here's a clip of the comments, which Trump's followers seemed to enjoy.The GOP nominee clearly doesn't understand the nature of the controversy, adding at today's event that it's "unprecedented" to have to concede results before they're known. But no one has suggested anything of the kind. Indeed, in the first presidential debate, Trump was asked if he would accept the outcome of the election, regardless of the outcome. He said, "The answer is, if she wins, I will absolutely support her."If he'd stuck to the exact same answer last night, there wouldn't have been an uproar. But Trump instead rolled out a new position: "I will look at it at the time.... I'll keep you in suspense. OK?"This isn't about conceding unknown results or ruling out legal scrutiny in the event of a 2000-like scenario. It's a simple question of honoring the electoral process and respecting the outcome after voters have had their say. Trump is the first modern major-party nominee to create some doubt: he may not consider the process legitimate and he may not accept the results.Unless, of course, he wins.It's reached the point at which even Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) thinks Trump is being irresponsible with his rhetoric.

Although LePage said he did not watch the debate, when told of Trump's comments on a Maine radio show, he responded that it was "an absolute stupid move. Period." LePage advised Trump to "take your licks and let's move on four years.""Not accepting the results, I think, is a stupid comment. I mean, c'mon. Get over yourself," LePage said.

When Paul LePage thinks a Republican's rhetoric is irresponsibly over the top, you know Trump really has gone too far.