Updated at 10:03 p.m. ET
President Trump on Wednesday suggested that he might not accept the election results if he is not declared the winner in November, in response to a reporter’s question about whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power — regardless of the outcome of the election.
“We’re going to have to see what happens. You know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster,” Trump said, alluding to his unsubstantiated arguments about widespread mail-in ballot fraud.
“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control. You know it. And you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.”
The comments in a news conference Wednesday night followed earlier remarks that he expects this year’s election results to end up before the high court.
“I think this [the election] will end up in the Supreme Court, and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices,” Trump said, defending his decision to seek the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice in the short time before the Nov. 3 election.
“I think it’s better if you go before the election, because I think this scam that the Democrats are pulling — it’s a scam — the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court,” Trump said.
Trump’s comments come a day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appeared to round up the votes needed to advance Trump’s nominee, who is expected to be named on Saturday. The nominee would replace Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday.
Ahead of the 2016 election, Trump also suggested the outcome would be “rigged.” He eventually won the White House despite losing the popular vote by some 3 million ballots.
NPR White House editor Roberta Rampton contributed to this report.