NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is facing criticism from across the aisle after making claims the election process was “rigged.”
Mike Pence said Sunday he and Trump will abide by “the will of the American people” on Election Day, and suggested that Trump’s claim of a “rigged” election stems from his belief the media is ganging up on him.
“We will absolutely accept the results of the election,” Pence said in television interviews. He said Trump’s complaint, articulated from the campaign stage and across Twitter but without evidence, reflects fatigue with “the obvious bias in the national media. That’s where the sense of a rigged election goes here.”
Not long after Pence said that, Trump partly undermined his comments. CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reports Trump is making claims the election is rigged in favor of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places,” Trump tweeted. “SAD.”
The claims follow accusations by multiple women that Trump sexually assaulted them. Trump says none of those stories are true.
On Saturday, a ninth woman came forward with allegations of unwanted sexual advances from Trump. Cathy Heller told The Guardian newspaper that she met Trump during a Mother’s Day brunch in the late 1990s at the billionaire’s Florida resort when “he took my hand and grabbed me, and went for the lips.” She added “I was angry and shaken.”
Heller’s story triggered another Trump denial.
“It’s a rigged election because you have phony people coming up with phony allegations with no witnesses whatsoever ending up from 20 years ago, 30 years ago,” he said.
Tim Kaine said Republican leaders need to push back harder against Donald Trump’s claims that the election is rigged and that Trump is “swinging at every phantom” because he’s losing in the polls.
Kaine said of Trump: “He’s blaming the media. He’s blaming the GOP. He’s saying that America can’t run a fair election. He is swinging at every phantom of his own imagination because he knows he’s losing.”
On Sunday, Kaine became the first vice presidential candidate to deliver a speech entirely in Spanish during a Spanish language church service in Florida.
Clinton’s campaign manager called Trump’s allegations of a rigged election “shameful,” saying the Republican is “afraid he’s going to lose.”
A spokesperson for GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has been at odds with Trump, said Ryan is “fully confident” the election will be conducted with “integrity.”
Trump said Ryan “doesn’t know how to win.”
The most recent polls have the Democratic nominee leading Trump. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of likely voters has Clinton with an 11-point lead in a four-way race with Trump, Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein. However, the ABC News/Washington Post poll of registered voters has Clinton’s lead within the margin of error by four points.
The most recent CBS News Battleground Tracker showed Clinton with a 46 to 40 percent lead over Trump thanks to stronger support among women. In September, Clinton had 45 percent of the female vote, and now she has 51 percent. Trump took a dip from 40 to 36 percent.
Trump lashed out on Twitter, saying, “Polls close, but can you believe I lost large numbers of women voters based on made up events THAT NEVER HAPPENED. Media rigging election!”
Pence told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that there has been an “overwhelming bias” in the media against Trump.
“The reason why you see resilience in our numbers around the country is people see an overwhelming bias in the national media,” Pence said.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani not only agreed the media was behind Trump’s decline in the polls, he also accused the Democratic Party for rigging the race.
“I’ve found a few instances of Republicans cheating the way Democrats do. The don’t control the inner cities. Maybe if they controlled the inner cities, they’d do as much cheating as Democrats do,” Giuliani said.
Several of Trump’s unfounded claims — such as the one Saturday that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was on drugs at the most recent debate and his call for drug testing before the next — also overshadowed the release over the weekend of more emails hacked from accounts of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Some showed the campaign worrying whether Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., might endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders in the party’s primary, and wrestling with how to respond to revelations about Clinton’s private email use. The emails also show aides lining up materials to respond to fresh accusations from a woman who accused Bill Clinton of raping her decades ago. The former president denied the accusation, which was never adjudicated by a criminal court.
Amid the intensity, Trump reiterated this weekend that a conspiracy is responsible for the FBI declining to prosecute Clinton for mingling private and official business on a homebrew email server so that she might compete in a fraudulent election.
“Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and should be in jail. Instead she is running for president in what looks like a rigged election,” Trump tweeted to his 12 million followers on Saturday.
Threatening to jail a political opponent and fueling public distrust of a popular election — to explain his loss, should that happen — was a striking breach of faith in American democracy. He has repeatedly claimed, without offering evidence, that election fraud is a serious problem and encouraged his mostly white supporters to “go and watch” polling places in certain areas to make sure things are “on the up and up.”
“When he talks about a rigged election, he’s not talking about the fact that it’s going to be rigged at the polls,” Giuliani said. “”What he’s talking about is that 80 percent to 85 percent of the media is against him.”
Pence, at a campaign event last Tuesday, waved away a woman’s call for a revolution if Clinton wins. By Sunday he was saying explicitly: “We’ll accept the will of the American people.”
The Indiana governor also distanced himself from Trump on a pair of other issues.
Pence acknowledged that evidence points to Russia being behind the hacking of Democratic emails. “I think there’s more and more evidence that implicates Russia and there should be serious consequences,” he said.
He also refused to join Trump’s call for Clinton to be drug tested before Wednesday’s third and final presidential debate.
He vice presidential nominee was asked whether he, like Trump, wants Clinton drug tested.
“All I know for sure is that Donald Trump is going to be ready for the debate on Wednesday night,” Pence replied.
Pence appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and “Fox News Sunday.” Giuliani was on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
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