Mike Pence said Sunday that Republicans would accept the results of the presidential election and that Donald Trump’s claims that the race has been rigged referred to a biased news media and not elections officials.
But within hours of Pence’s comments, Trump took to Twitter to partly disagree with his running mate, as he has several times in recent days.
Trump wrote, without providing any evidence, that “many polling places” were trying to tilt the Nov. 8 election to his opponent, 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 – SAD,” Trump tweeted.
Pressed on the issue on two Sunday TV talk shows, Pence said he and Trump would not contest the election results if Clinton won.
“We will absolutely accept the results of the election,” Pence told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Pence added that “the American people are tired of the obvious bias in the national media. That’s where the sense of a rigged election goes here, Chuck.”
Trump, who is trailing Clinton in national and battleground state polls, has complained that the media is trying to torpedo his campaign by focusing on women who have made sexual assault allegations against him.
In recent days Trump also has argued that the election is “rigged,” raising concerns that he and his followers might challenge the legitimacy of the vote if he loses.
“It looks to me like a rigged election,” Trump said Saturday at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H. “The election is being rigged by corrupt media pushing completely false allegations and outright lies in an effort to elect [Clinton] president.”
Pence said Trump was clear in the first presidential debate that he would accept the results at the polls.
Pushed twice on the issue at the Sept. 26 debate by moderator Lester Holt, Trump said, “The answer is, if she wins, I will absolutely support her.”
Earlier Sunday, Trump tweeted that his portrayal by actor Alec Baldwin on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” was part of the media campaign against him.
“Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me. Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!” Trump tweeted.
During the show’s sketch about the presidential town hall debate, Baldwin-as-Trump is asked if he likes kids and says, “I love the kids, okay? I love them so much I marry them.”
After it’s pointed out that Trump has said Bill Clinton’s female accusers should be believed, Baldwin-as-Trump says of his own accusers: “They need to shut the hell up.”
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a top Trump surrogate, also denied that Trump was questioning the integrity of election officials.
“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 on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “What he’s talking about is that 80 percent to 85 percent of the media is against him.”
But when pressed, Giuliani added that “there have been places where a lot of cheating has gone on over the years” and that “dead people generally vote for Democrats, rather than Republicans.”
To say “that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair, I would have to be a moron to say that,” Giuliani said.