DONALD Trump says he will “promise and pledge” to accept the results of the US election - if he wins.
“I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election - if I win,” Trump said at his rally in Delaware, Ohio.
He went on to say: “I will accept a clear election result, but I will also reserve my right to contest and file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.”
But that outcome now seems even more distant as his national political director, Jim Murphy, announces he will ‘step back’ from the campaign for ‘personal reasons’.
During last night’s showdown between himself and Hillary Clinton, Trump would not commit to accepting the vote of the people.
“What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time,” Trump said last night in Las Vegas. “I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?”
It came as a yoga instructor from suburban New York came forward as the 10th woman alleging Trump of sexual assault.
Karena Virginia, 45, said she ran into Trump at the US Open tennis tournament in Flushing in 1998 when he allegedly made the lewd move.
He allegedly remarked to a group of men around him, “Hey, look at this one” and “We haven’t seen her before, look at those legs,” according to Ms Virginia.
That’s when he allegedly grabbed her right arm and touched her breast.
“I was in shock. I flinched. ‘Don’t you know who I am, don’t you know who I am.’ That’s what he said to me,” Ms Virginia recounted. “I felt intimidated and I felt powerless.”
Ms Virginia said her clothing of that day added to her embarrassment.
“I felt ashamed that I was wearing a short dress and high heels,” she said. “That feeling of shame stayed with me for a while and it made me disinclined to wear short dresses or high heels.”
“Mr. Trump, perhaps you do not remember me, or what you did to me so many years ago. But I can assure you that I remember you and what you did to me as though it was yesterday,” Ms Virginia said as she choked back tears. “Your random moment of sexual pleasure came at my expense and it affected me greatly.”
In the last public Trump v Clinton showdown, the billionaire failed to strike the knockout blow he wanted to gain control ahead of the dying days of the campaign.
Mr Trump, who is lagging in the polls and needed the final debate clash to broaden his voter base and make up ground, sparred with Ms Clinton on some of the most substantive and divisive issues of the entire debate series — gun laws, abortion, immigration and the economy.
The pair painted vastly different visions for America — Mr Trump’s a place where the right to bear arms is fiercely protected and abortion is restricted, and Ms Clinton’s one where guns face tougher restrictions and abortion rights are protected.
These are key vote-deciding issues that have the potential to win Mr Trump hard-line conservatives deep in Middle America who were never swept up in his anti-establishment narrative.
But, after a solid opening 30 minutes in which Mr Trump appeared to gain ground on policy questions, he captured international headlines when he demurred on accepting the election result.
Ms Clinton shot back: “that’s horrifying”.
Mr Trump also risked offending key demographics he needed to win, referring to Mexicans as “bad hombres” and labelling Ms Clinton a “such a nasty woman” under his breath as she spoke.
But Ms Clinton faced her own blow, when moderator Chris Wallace called her out on WikiLeaks documents that showed she had spoken in favour of open borders in a speech to big banks.
Ms Clinton had accused Mr Trump of a “rank mischaracterisation” when he said she favoured and open border policy, at which point Wallace brought up the WikiLeaks speech excerpts.
Ms Clinton tried to brush the contradiction aside, and instead raised the spectre of Vladimir Putin, blaming him for the hacks that had leaked her speeches and labelling Mr Trump the Russian’s “puppet”.
Mr Trump said he did not know Mr Putin, but that the Russian leader had outsmarted Ms Clinton and President Barack Obama repeatedly.
“You’re the puppet,” Mr Trump said.
He refused to concede Russia was behind the hacks, despite US authorities concluding that was the case.
“You continue to get help from him because he continues to have a very clear favourite in this race ... 17 intelligence agencies have found that these attacks come from the highest level of the Kremlin,” Ms Clinton said.
“You doubt 17 intelligence agencies?”
Ms Clinton also tried to skewer Mr Trump again on his treatment of women, saying America had seen who he truly was after several women raised allegations of sexual assault.
“Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger,” she said.
Mr Trump refuted the allegations insisting no one had more respect for women than he did.
He stopped short of pivoting to Bill Clinton’s own indiscretions, instead striking a more mellow tone at several points during the clash.
The pair also clashed on trade, with Ms Clinton confirming she would not back the Transpacific partnership deal, despite previously referring to it as the “gold standard”.
“I’m against it now, I’ll be against it after the election, I’ll be against it when I’m president,” she said.
Voting is already taking place in more than 30 states ahead of the November 8 polling day — November 9 in Australia.