AP – Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested Monday that he fears that the general election "is going to be rigged."
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Trump, speaking in Ohio, said he felt the Democrats had fixed their primary system so Hillary Clinton could defeat Bernie Sanders. He claimed that the Republican nomination would have been stolen from him had he not won by significant margins.
Trump then asserted that November's general election may not be on the up-and-up.
"I'm afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest," the Republican nominee told a town hall crowd in Columbus. He said he hears "more and more" that the election may not be contested fairly. Later that day, he said Sanders "made a deal with the devil" when he agreed to back Clinton. "She's the devil," Trump said, referring to Clinton.
Trump did not elaborate on his contention and a request to his campaign for additional explanation was not immediately returned. If Trump were to lose in November and publicly declare that the election results were bogus, he would break with general election tradition, yielding unpredictable reactions from his supporters and fellow Republicans.
Trump has not been shy of asserting that the electoral process has been "rigged."
It became a frequent catchphrase of his during a low-water mark of his primary campaign this spring, when forces allied with Republican rival Ted Cruz managed to pack state delegations with supporters of the Texas senator. The celebrity businessman also asserted that the Republican Party had changed the delegate allocation in the Florida primary to favor a native candidate, like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, at Trump's expense.
In recent weeks, in an effort to woo angry Sanders supporters to his campaign, Trump has made the claim that the Democrats' process was also rigged.
The event in Ohio was Trump's first campaign appearance since the onset of his tussle with the parents of a slain Army veteran, but he did not address the flap. He spoke for nearly an hour Monday in Columbus, but did not mention his criticism of Khizr and Ghazala Khan, Muslims whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004.
The Khans spoke out against Trump and questioned his familiarity with the Constitution last week at the Democratic National Convention. Trump struck back by questioning whether Ghazala Khan had been allowed to speak. She said she is still too grief-stricken by her son's death.
Trump criticized the family in an interview Sunday and again in a pair of tweets Monday morning.