Donald Trump is no longer saying he will accept the result of the presidential election in November, which would be a break from one of the oldest and most fundamental American political traditions.
One of Trump's main talking points at rallies in recent days has been his allegation that the election is being rigged — he has offered no evidence — and debate moderator Chris Wallace asked at Wednesday's debate if he would accept the result on Nov. 8.
"I will look at it at the time," Trump said, suggesting that the media's reporting on the current state of the election is distorted and that Clinton should be disqaulified for office.
Wallace explained the political tradition that the losers of elections in the United States concede to the winner, keeping the peace, then asked again if Trump would accept the result. Trump said, "I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense."
Hillary Clinton quickly replied to Trump's remark, saying "that's horrifying."
Clinton said that not accepting losses is common for Trump, saying he was even bothered by losing an Emmy — Trump interjected, "Should have gotten it."
"This is how Donald thinks," Clinton said, as some in the audience at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas laughed. "It's funny but it's also really troubling."
Both Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence said earlier Wednesday they believed Trump would accept the result.
"We'll certainly accept the outcome of this election," Pence said on CNN before the debate.
"I believe he'll accept the outcome either way," Ivanka Trump said at a summit on women in Southern California.
Trump has also said he'll accept the result of the election, but his new response — the culmination of days of complaints about the election being rigged — marked a major and possibly unprecedented change in American politics.
Immediately after the debate, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told NBC's Hallie Jackson that Trump will accept the results of the election. He later released a statement that did not mention the controversy, but called Trump "the only candidate ready to shake up Washington and give a voice back to the American people."
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway reacted to the remark on MSNBC by saying Trump would accept the results because he will win. When Chris Matthews pressed her on what would happen if he lost, she pointed to Al Gore challenging the 2000 election results in Florida — though Gore sought a recount only when the vote totals showed a margin of less than 2,000 votes, and he never called the result into question beforehand.
The reaction online was swift, with many people, even Trump supporters, repudiating the comment.
"Based on that answer alone, I hope Mr Trump loses all 50 states. He deserves to. He is attacking democracy itself," tweeted a scholar at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute.
Already not a fan of Trump, Jerry Springer, the former talk show host and mayor of Cincinnati, tweeted that he is "an outrage" for not saying he would accept the election. "Is he planning a coup?"