Pence says GOP ticket will ac­cept vote out­come

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Lau­rie Kell­man

Mike Pence said Sun­day he and Don­ald 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.

“The elec­tion is ab­so­lutely be­ing rigged by the dis­hon­est and dis­torted me­dia push­ing Crooked Hil­lary — but also at many polling places,” Trump tweeted. “SAD.”

Pence’s words were the lat­est at­tempt by Trump’s sur­ro­gates to at­tempt to ex­plain that some things the GOP presidential nom­i­nee has said and tweeted are not what he meant.

Much of that cleanup duty has fallen to Pence lit­tle more than three weeks be­fore the Nov. 8 vote. Trump is strug­gling to shift the fo­cus away from mount­ing ac­cu­sa­tions that he sex­u­ally as­saulted women in ways sim­i­lar to what he is recorded de­scrib­ing on a re­cently re­leased video. Trump says all of the ac­cu­sa­tions are fab­ri­cated.

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.”

It was left to Pence and an­other Trump sur­ro­gate,

former New York City Rudy Gi­u­liani, to ex­plain on na­tional television what their own can­di­date meant.

“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.

EVAN VUCCI — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Repub­li­can presidential can­di­date Don­ald Trump speaks to the Repub­li­can Hindu Coali­tion, Satur­day in Edi­son, N.J.

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