Trump evades debate question on whether he will accept election result

Donald Trump refused to explicitly say whether he would accept the result of November’s presidential election during his first debate with Joe Biden.

The former president was asked three times whether he would accept the outcome “regardless of who wins”, finally answering: “If it’s a fair and legal and good election, absolutely.”

During Thursday night’s debate, he also repeated unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election and played down his role in the 6 January riot on Capitol Hill.

Mr Biden, who’s stumbling performance sent Democrats into a panic, hit back, accusing Mr Trump of “continuing to promote this lie” about the election being stolen.

The highly anticipated debate, hosted by CNN in Atlanta, saw Mr Trump remain largely composed and focused, as his opponent struggled to maintain his train of thought and at times finish his sentences clearly.

But Mr Trump made several assertions during the debate that weren’t supported by facts or he told outright falsehoods.

CNN moderator Dana Bash had to repeatedly ask Mr Trump if he would accept the election results. The first time, he dodged the question by saying he wanted a fair and free election “more than anybody.”

The second time, he ignored the question and instead ranted about the war in Ukraine, saying Vladimir Putin would never have invaded if he was the US president, because “I got along with him very well… he knew not to play games”.

The third time, when told to answer “yes or no”, Mr Trump finally said he “absolutely” would accept the outcome if the election was “fair and legal and good”.

He then referenced the “ridiculous” fraud in the last election, a claim he has repeated – without providing evidence – for four years, and is related to criminal charges he is facing.

Mr Trump then said it would be easier for him to just accept the results rather than have to run for president again.

“I doubt whether you’ll accept it because you’re such a whiner,” Joe Biden quipped. “You can’t stand the loss. Something snapped in you when you lost last time.”

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