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Trump refuses to commit to accepting 2024 election results

DOUG MILLS/THE NEW YORK TIMES
                                Former President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a campaign rally at the Waukesha County Expo Center in Waukesha, Wis., on Wednesday. Trump told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that he would not commit to accepting the results of the 2024 election, as he again repeated his lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
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DOUG MILLS/THE NEW YORK TIMES

Former President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a campaign rally at the Waukesha County Expo Center in Waukesha, Wis., on Wednesday. Trump told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that he would not commit to accepting the results of the 2024 election, as he again repeated his lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Former President Donald Trump told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that he would not commit to accepting the results of the 2024 election, as he again repeated his lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

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

In an interview with Time magazine published Tuesday, he also dismissed questions about political violence in November by suggesting that his victory was inevitable.

When pressed about what might happen should he lose, he said, “if we don’t win, you know, it depends. It always depends on the fairness of an election.”

Trump’s insistent and fraudulent claims that the 2020 election was unfair were at the heart of his efforts to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden, and to the violent storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, by a mob of supporters who believed his claims. Trump now faces dozens of felony charges in connection with those events.

Trump’s vow to “fight for the right of the country” also echoes his Jan. 6 speech by the White House, where he told his supporters that “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” before urging his supporters to march to the Capitol.

As he campaigns in battleground states this year, Trump has repeatedly tried to sow doubt about the integrity of the fall election, while repeating many of the same lies that he used to assail the integrity of the 2020 election. Months before any voting has taken place, Trump has regularly made the baseless claim that Democrats are likely to cheat to win.

“Democrats rigged the presidential election in 2020, but we’re not going to allow them to rig the presidential election — the most important day of our lives — in 2024,” Trump said at a rally in Freeland, Michigan.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump has for years promoted the lie that he won Wisconsin in 2020, and he did so again in the Journal Sentinel interview. Even after Jan. 6, 2021, and years after his exit from office, he has repeatedly pressured Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the top Republican in the state Legislature, to help overturn Trump’s loss in the state and to impeach the state’s nonpartisan chief of elections.

More than 1,250 people have been charged with crimes in connection to the Jan. 6 attack — and hundreds of people have been convicted. Trump said in a recent interview that he would “absolutely” consider pardoning every person convicted on charges related to the storming of the Capitol. A bipartisan Senate report found that at least seven people died in connection with that attack.

The former president and his allies have also installed election deniers in influential positions in his campaign and in Republican Party institutions. In March, Trump allies newly installed to the leadership of the Republican National Committee appointed Christina Bobb, a former host at the far-right One America News Network, as senior counsel for election integrity. A self-described conspiracy theorist, she has relentlessly promoted false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

Bobb was indicted in Arizona last week, along with all of the fake electors who acted on Trump’s behalf in that state and others, on charges related to what authorities say were attempts by the defendants to overturn the 2020 election results in Arizona.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have made an aggressive approach to “election integrity” — a broad term often used by Republicans to cast doubt on elections that the party lost — central to their efforts heading toward November.

Last month, the committee announced a plan to train and dispatch more than 100,000 volunteers and lawyers to monitor the electoral process in each battleground state and to mount aggressive challenges.

On Wednesday, Trump said at the rally in Freeland that his campaign and national and state Republican parties would put together “a team of the most highly qualified lawyers and other professionals in the country to ensure that what happened in 2020 will never happen again.”

“I will secure our elections because you know what happened in 2020,” Trump said at a rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Wednesday.

Trump lost Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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