Donald Trump's refusal to say whether he'll accept the results of the November election should he lose to Hillary Clinton was a "shocker," and threatens a "pillar of our nation's democracy," Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine said Thursday morning while making the morning television show rounds.
"There were other shockers, but that was the biggest one," Kaine told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on the "New Day" program. "I worked as a missionary in Honduras 35 years ago and it was a military dictatorship. And I learned from that experience that the acceptance of the outcome of an election and the peaceful transfer of power is a pillar of our nation's democracy."
And Trump's words, coming "after an insult-driven campaign where Donald has insulted virtually everybody, now he is trying to pull the central pillar down," the Virginia senator continued.
"I can't imagine why he would do that except for the reason that Hillary pointed out. If he thinks things are going against him and he's going to lose, he's going to claim that it was rigged against him.
"He tried to argue last night that the Emmy Award was wrong. He can't take responsibility and that's an important trait."
Whether or not Trump concedes is "probably irrelevant," Kaine continued, but the question is whether the mandate will be clear on Nov. 8.
"Donald is still going to whine if he loses, but if the mandate is clear, I don't think many people will follow him," said Kaine. "And it's just this inability to accept responsibility is at the core of this."
Kaine admitted there is some concern about protests after the election, "but we also have confidence in the American public . . . We're confident in the American public that they will accept the outcome of this election just as they have in elections time after time after time in this country. It is a pillar of our country."
Also appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, Kaine said that if Trump hadn't been saying for weeks that the election was rigged, then his comments Wednesday night would not have become a big story.
"The fact that he has been pushing this notion that if he loses, it's got to be because things are rigged against him, that's why the moment was so powerful," said Kaine.
He also said he does not believe the country it is destined to be under a Trump presidency.
"I would hope that a Congress and other leaders would check and make him not able to do some of the things that he has pledged to do," Kaine said.
On ABC's "Good Morning America," Kaine also discussed the Trump/Clinton tussle over Russian President Vladimir Putin, when Clinton told Trump the Russian leader would "rather have a puppet as president of the United States."
Clinton was "commenting up on Donald Trump's own words," Kaine said Thursday, pointing out that the GOP candidate has not taken a stand against hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee and some of Clinton's election staff, and during the debate, "Donald Trump kept trying to defend Vladimir Putin . . .
"So here's a guy who won't defend American democratic traditions, but refuses to confirm cyberhacking by Russia against the United States."
Kaine told "CBS This Morning" he believes Trump wants to keep America "in suspense" about the election because he "just doesn't take responsibility for stuff."
"If something doesn't go his way, he's not gonna say, 'I guess I should've ran a better campaign, I guess I shouldn't have been so divisive.' He's gonna blame it on somebody else," Kaine told the program, noting how he retorted to a Clinton jab about losing an Emmy Award.
"He couldn't resist jumping back in and said, 'I should've won the Emmy that year,'" said Kaine.
On NBC's "Today" show, Kaine dismissed efforts from Trump surrogates, including campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who are comparing Trump's statements to the Al Gore challenge in 2000.
"Al Gore did, in a very gracious way that was very patriotic, accept the results once the court process was complete. But all along the way, he did it in a respectful tone," Kaine said. "Did Al Gore ever say things were rigged? Did he use that kind of language? Absolutely not."
Further, Trump's refusal to commit to the eventual election results insults the public, said Kaine.
"The commander in chief has to take a command from the American public and when you look at voters and say, 'Sorry, guys, I may not accept your opinions,' you're basically dissing your own bosses, the American public, and I don't think voters like being insulted," Kaine said.
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