Fox News Moderator Chris Wallace asked Donald Trump to clarify his position on whether he would accept the results of the 2016 presidential election in Wednesday night’s debate. Trump’s answer led one writer to opine that the Republican was committing “political suicide.”
The question followed recent comments from Trump in which he proclaimed the election was “rigged.” Trump refused to assure he would accept the results, telling Wallace, “I’ll keep you in suspense” until after the election.
“I will look at it at the time,” Trump said at the third and final debate. “What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time.”
Wallace’s colleague, Fox News conservative opinion commentator Charles Krauthammer, said that Trump’s comment backed him into a corner out of which he cannot retreat:
“This was not a gaffe where you say something off the cuff and it’s what you think, but its wrong,” Krauthammer said following the debate. “You know that [Trump] had been coached on this. You know that his vice president had said, ‘of course, we will accept the result’ and his campaign manager, and his daughter, and you know that [Trump]’s convinced that this is something he wants to take a stand on.”
“The calculation: this is political suicide,” Krauthammer said in summary. “I think it was a terrible mistake.”
Krauthammer said that though Trump performed well in the final debate, this answer will stick out as a defining moment in the final weeks of the campaign.
“Trump had a really good night, but here, the consensus is right,” Krauthammer opined. “He blew it up by a totally wrong answer on accepting results.”