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Trump says he will only accept 2024 election results ‘if everything’s honest’

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Former President Donald Trump speaks to guests during a rally May 1, 2024 in Waukesha, Wisconsin.


Former President Donald Trump refused to unconditionally accept the results of the upcoming 2024 presidential election in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday.

“If everything is honest, I will accept the results with pleasure. I’m not changing on that,” Trump said in the interview. “If not, you must fight for the rights of the country.”

It’s the latest comment from Trump in which he seeks to undermine confidence in the US electoral system if he loses in November. In the interview, he also repeated false claims that he won the state of Wisconsin in the 2020 election and cast doubt on whether ballots would be counted “honestly.”

“If you look back and look at everything that has been uncovered, it shows that I won the election in Wisconsin,” Trump told the Journal Sentinel. “It also showed that I won elections in other places.”

President Joe Biden won Wisconsin in 2020, by about 21,000 votes, a victory of about 0.6 percentage points.

Trump said he would “let it be known” if he thought the 2024 election was not “honest,” but said he anticipated that would be the case.

“I would be doing the country a disservice if I said otherwise,” Trump told the Journal Sentinel. “But no, I expect fair elections and we hope to win maybe very big.”

Trump said: “But if everything is honest, which we expect – there have been a lot of changes over the last few years – but if everything is honest, I will absolutely accept the results.”

“I want people who vote to vote honestly. I want the ballots to be counted honestly. I don’t want people to go to legislatures and get things not approved and do it anyway,” Trump said.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that the 2020 election was rigged or “stolen,” despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Special counsel Jack Smith indicted the former president last year, alleging that Trump broke several laws in his attempts to overturn the election. Trump has denied the allegations and has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges.

Throughout his political career, Trump has routinely refused to accept the results of an election or commit to conceding defeat. After finishing second in the 2016 Iowa caucuses, Trump accused Texas Sen. Ted Cruz of fraud and called for a new contest. Later, facing Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump made baseless claims that the election he ultimately won was “rigged” and repeatedly refused to say whether he would respect the result. He once again avoided making a commitment before the 2024 elections.

The presumptive Republican nominee joined House Speaker Mike Johnson for a news conference earlier this month, in part, to “call attention” to what they see as proposals and state lawsuits that would allow non-citizens to vote, CNN previously reported.

Currently, federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in federal elections. Noncitizens who voted illegally face fines and face up to a year in prison and deportation. Trump, however, regularly made false claims that Democrats wanted undocumented immigrants to enter the country to impact the election, attempting to stoke fear around immigration and election security ahead of the November elections.

Trump returned to the campaign trail Wednesday for the first time since his criminal trial in New York began in earnest last month. The presumptive Republican nominee spent the day holding rallies in Wisconsin and Michigan, two critical states he won in 2016 but lost to Biden in 2020.

This story has been updated with additional comments.

CNN’s Alayna Treene, Kristen Holmes, Steve Contorno and Alison Main contributed to this report.

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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