Trump refuses to commit to accept US election results, amid looming spectre of defeat
US President Donald Trump has refused to publicly commit to accept the results of the upcoming presidential elections, echoing a similar threat he made before the 2016 vote. He scoffed at polls showing him lagging behind Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump says it's too early to make such an iron-clad guarantee on accepting the election results. "I have to see. Look ... I have to see," Trump told Fox News's Chris Wallace. "No, I'm not going to just say yes. I'm not going to say no, and I didn't last time either."
"First of all, I'm not losing, because those are fake [opinion] polls," Trump said in the taped interview. "They were fake in 2016 and now they're even more fake. They were much worse in 2016."
Four years ago, in the closing stages of his race against Hillary Clinton, Trump had said he would not commit to honouring the election results if the Democrat won. Pressed during an October 2016 debate about whether he would abide by the voters' will, Trump again refused to commit.
The opinion polls have been poor for the sitting president. Trump has seen his presidential popularity erode over his handing of the coronavirus pandemic, and in the aftermath of nationwide protests centered on racial injustice that erupted after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis nearly two months.
Polling organisation Gallup recorded Trump's support as declining over 10 points to 39 per cent; Biden leads him in most of the key battleground states. A CNN poll showed Trump lagging behind Biden by 14 points nationally. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll reported that 80 per cent of Americans feel the country is spiralling "out of control".
The coronavirus pandemic was a big factor in Trump's fall in popularity. COVID-19's mounting human and economic tolls—and the president's defiant response—are believed to have cost him support among white, rural constituencies key to victory.
-Inputs from agencies