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Trump says he will only accept 2024 election results ‘if everything’s honest’

Former President Donald Trump, seen here on May 1, refused to unconditionally accept the results of the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
Scott Olson/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
Former President Donald Trump, seen here on May 1, refused to unconditionally accept the results of the upcoming 2024 presidential election.

By Rashard Rose and Kate Sullivan, CNN

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump refused to unconditionally accept the results of the upcoming 2024 presidential election in an interview Wednesday with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“If everything’s honest, I’ll gladly accept the results. I don’t change on that,” Trump said in the interview. “If it’s not, you have to fight for the right of the country.”

It’s the latest comment by Trump in which he has sought to undermine confidence in the American electoral system in the event he loses in November. In the interview, he also repeated false claims that he won the state of Wisconsin during the 2020 election and cast doubt on whether ballots will be counted “honestly.”

“If you go back and look at all of the things that had been found out, it showed that I won the election in Wisconsin,” Trump told the Journal Sentinel. “It also showed I won the election in other locations.”

President Joe Biden won Wisconsin in 2020, coming out ahead by about 21,000 votes – a victory of about 0.6 percentage points.

Trump said he would “let it be known” if he thought the 2024 election wasn’t “honest,” but said he anticipated it would be.

“I’d be doing a disservice to the country if I said otherwise,” Trump told the Journal Sentinel. “But no, I expect an honest election and we expect to win maybe very big.”

Trump said, “But if everything’s honest, which we anticipate it will be — a lot of changes have been made over the last few years — but if everything’s honest, I will absolutely accept the results.”

“I want people that vote to cast an honest ballot. I want the ballots to be counted honestly. I don’t want people going to legislatures and getting things not approved and then doing it anyway,” Trump said.

The Biden campaign condemned Trump’s remarks on Thursday.

“President Biden has said, ‘You can’t love your country only when you win.’ But for Donald Trump, his campaign for revenge and retribution reigns supreme,” the campaign said in a statement. “In his own words, he is promising to rule as a dictator on ‘day one,’ use the military against the American people, punish those who stand against him, condone violence done on his behalf, and put his own quest for power ahead of what is best for America.

“Bottom line: Trump is a danger to the Constitution and a threat to our democracy. The American people are going to give him another electoral defeat this November because they continue to reject his extremism, his affection for violence, and his thirst for revenge.”

Trump has repeatedly claimed the 2020 election was rigged or “stolen,” despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Special counsel Jack Smith indicted the former president last year, alleging Trump broke several laws in his attempts to overturn the election. Trump has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges.

Throughout his political career, Trump has regularly refused to accept the results of an election or commit to conceding defeat. After finishing second in the Iowa caucuses in 2016, Trump accused Texas Sen. Ted Cruz of fraud and called for a new contest. Later, while facing Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump baselessly claimed the election he eventually won was “rigged” and repeatedly refused to say whether he would abide by the outcome. He has again avoided a commitment heading into the 2024 election.

The presumptive Republican nominee joined House Speaker Mike Johnson for a news conference earlier this month to, in part, “draw attention to” what they say are state proposals and lawsuits that would allow non-citizens to vote, CNN previously reported.

Currently, federal law bans non-citizens from voting in federal elections. Non-citizens who illegally cast ballots risk fines and face up to a year in prison and deportation. Trump, however, has routinely made false claims that Democrats want undocumented migrants to come into the country to impact the election, attempting to stoke fear around immigration and election security ahead of the November election.

Trump returned to the campaign trail Wednesday for the first time since his New York criminal hush money trial began in earnest last month. The presumptive Republican nominee spent the day hosting rallies in Wisconsin and Michigan, two critical battleground states he won in 2016 but lost to Biden in 2020.

This story has been updated with additional comments.

CNN’s Alayna Treene, Kristen Holmes, Steve Contorno and Alison Main contributed to this report.

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Article Topic Follows: Politics

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