DALLAS — Donald Trump's top supporter in Texas said Thursday he expects a "peaceful transition" of power in November as the Republican presidential nominee continued to decline to promise he would accept the outcome of the election.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who chairs Trump's efforts in Texas, told reporters he thinks Trump was "misunderstood" during his debate Wednesday with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, when he repeatedly ducked the question of whether he would respect the results on Nov. 8.
"I think what he was saying is if we have another Florida, you know, where it’s close and it could come down to one state — and this election could come down to one state — and there’s any thought of voter fraud — and we’re seeing a lot of voter fraud everywhere now — that I’m going to look at it and that I’m going to have it investigated, make sure that the election is fair," Patrick said. "But there’s no question in my mind that after all that dust settles, that we have a peaceful transition as we always do in this country."
At the debate, Trump said he wants to keep America "in suspense" about whether he will accept the outcome and that he will "look at it at the time." He continued stoking doubts Thursday — shortly before Patrick spoke with reporters — suggesting at an Ohio rally that he will only respect the results if he wins.
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Talking to a reporters after a speech in Dallas, Patrick said he had not heard Trump's most recent comments on the issue. But he argued that such controversies are not exclusive to Republicans.
"Look, there were a lot of Democrats for a long time that never said George Bush was president, so this idea" is not new, Patrick told reporters, again referring to the 2000 George W. Bush vs. Al Gore election that led to a recount in Florida. "By the way, if [Clinton] wins, there are going to be a lot of Americans that don’t accept the outcome, but they’re going to move on and accept whoever wins."
Trump’s debate comments on the election result also drew a response Thursday from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who bitterly battled Trump in the primaries. Cruz endorsed Trump last month after a months-long holdout.
“I understand that lots of folks in the media are throwing rocks at Donald,” Cruz told reporters before a get-out-the-vote event in Dallas. "He’s got to decide what his own answers are. My view is, we have a democratic process, we have elections. I’ve won elections, I’ve lost elections, and I respect the results of an election."
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