Donald Trump had a major announcement to make at the Delaware County, Ohio Fairgrounds Thursday: "I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election."
That is, he said after a beat: "If I win."
The GOP nominee, coming off a fiery showdown in Las Vegas against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, has come under heavy criticism after refusing to give a clear answer to whether he'd concede the results of the upcoming election if he lost to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and in his Thursday speech called the question "unprecedented."
"If Al Gore or George Bush had agreed three weeks before the election to concede the results and waived their right to a legal challenge or a recount, then there would be no Supreme Court case," Trump said. "In effect, I'm being asked to waive centuries of legal precedent designed to protect the voters."
But, he said, according to the Pew Research Center, there are "24 million voter registrations in the United States that are either invalid or significantly inaccurate. Okay. I think the people in this room understand it more than our leaders . . . 1.8 million people are dead, but they're registered to vote. Some of whom vote even though they're dead. Which is really a hard thing to do."
"Now, I am not a politician, so I can say it like it is," Trump said. "But those are terrible, those are terrible and frightening statistics. America is a constitutional republic with a system of laws . . . of course, I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result."
Trump said to cheers and applause from Ohio supporters that everyone concludes he won Wednesday's debate, "including every single online poll, and some had it at 90 and close to 90 percent, so that's pretty close."
But, Trump said, the question of voter fraud came up in the debate, and he told the cheering crowd that his campaign wants fairness in the election and that it doesn't have anything to do with him but rather with the "future of our country."
"We have to have fairness," Trump said. "John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman,was quoted in WikiLeaks as saying illegal immigrants could vote as long as they have their driver's license. Driver's license. What I'm saying is don't be naive, folks. Don't be naive."
He also said to cheers of "lock her up, lock her up" from the crowd that Clinton's campaign "has paid people to disrupt violently our rallies and to incite absolute, total bedlam."
"I've had occasions where we had rallies, and it was so incredibly violent, I said, 'What's going on over here?'" Trump said. "These were paid people by the Clinton campaign, and it just came out. And I give a lot of credit to the people that brought this out, believe me. This is criminal behavior this that violates centuries of tradition of peaceful, democratic elections."
Trump also accused Clinton of getting exact questions to a previous debate from acting Democratic National Committee chairman Donna Brazile, and called for Brazile's resignation.
"That is cheating at the highest level," Trump said. "Donna Brazile, she should resign. She looked like such a fool last night on television trying to say, 'Well, she didn't know what was going on. She had no idea.'"
Clinton, he continued, is a "very dishonest person" and the "most corrupt and dishonest person ever to seek the office of the presidency."
Trump went on to make other promises for his presidency, including renegotiating our "terrible" trade deals, ending illegal immigration, stopping the inflow of refugees, reducing "surging crime," cutting taxes and regulations, unleashing American energy, taking care of the nation's veterans and rebuilding the military.
"And we are going to repeal and replace Obamacare," Trump said. "Just in cause you haven't noticed, rates are going up 60, 70, 80 percent. Next year's going to be worse. It's a catastrophe, and it's dying anyway, but we're going to repeal it, replace it. You're going to have great health care at a practice of the cost."
Trump also promised jobs will return under his administration.
"Your incomes will go up under a Trump administration," Trump said. "Your taxes will go way down under a Trump administration, and Hillary Clinton is going to raise your taxes. She's going to raise your taxes. Your companies won't be leaving Ohio under a Trump administration."
Clinton, he said, "has raised countless millions of dollars from big donors who want to ship our jobs to other countries. You know that, you saw that last night. Remember? I said open border, turned out she wanted open borders. Boy, that WikiLeaks has done a job on her, hasn't it?"
He went on to accuse Clinton of having a "hatred, almost, for Catholics" and a hatred for Evangelicals, based on revelations in emails leaked through the WikiLeaks website.
"Actually the one I liked was John Podesta saying that Hillary Clinton has bad instincts," Trump said. "She's got bad instincts. I don't want somebody with bad instincts as our president. I'll tell ya, if I were Hillary, I'd fire that guy."
Trump said he can sum up his plan for the economy in "three very beautiful words: jobs, jobs, jobs."
"At the center of what will be a historic jobs plan will be fixing our terrible trade deals, and they are terrible," Trump said. "Forty-seven million Americans are in poverty, and 45 million Americans are right now on food stamps. We have nearly a $800 billion annual trade deficit in goods with the world, and the worst so-called recovery since the Great Depression."
But Ohio, he told the audience, "has lost one in four manufacturing jobs since NAFTA," and China's entrance into the World Trade Organization and NAFTA was "backed strongly by crooked Hillary."
"A Trump administration is going to renegotiate NAFTA, the worst ever signed, probably the worst trade deal ever signed in history," he said.
He also repeated his call to "rebuild our inner cities."
"You walk to the store with your child, is and you get shot. There's no education, there are no jobs, and there's practically no safety," he said. "Nearly 3,500 people have been shot in Chicago since the beginning of the year."
Trump in the speech also repeated his call for border security and for saving the nation's Second Amendment, which he said is "under siege," as well as his promise to appoint Supreme Court justices who will look out for America's interests.
"We have had a good time," he concluded. "But important things are happening. You will remember this day. This is a movement like nobody has seen in this country before."
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