Three months out, Donald Trump has already started warning people the election in November might be "rigged" for Hillary Clinton, telling Republican voters to "watch very closely."
Speaking with Fox News’s Sean Hannity Monday, Trump insinuated President Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012 in fixed election, said his own primary win was rigged "a little bit," that Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in a "rigged" primary, and that Democrats would attempt to rig the 2016 election for Clinton.
"I’m telling you, November 8th, we’d better be careful because that election is going to be rigged," Trump said. "And I hope the Republicans are watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us."
Here is the whole exchange:
HANNITY: You said at a speech today you’re afraid this election is going to be rigged. Explain.
TRUMP: Yes. Well, I’ve been — I’ve been hearing about it for a long time. And I know last time, there were — you had precincts where there were practically nobody voting for the Republican. And I think that’s wrong. I think that was unfair frankly, than Mitt Romney. You had areas where a lot of people were curious, how is that possible?
And I’ve been hearing about it for a long time. And I just hope that there’s really — I hope the Republicans get out there and watch very closely because I think we are going to win this election, but if it’s rigged, like anything else, look, it was rigged, I thought, a little bit for me, and we won in landslides. I think it was rigged against Bernie Sanders with this super delegates nonsense…
TRUMP: It was.
HANNITY: Well, we know it was rigged now.
TRUMP: You know, the guy never had a chance.
HANNITY: We have the emails.
TRUMP: And — and I’m telling you, November 8th, we’d better be careful because that election is going to be rigged. And I hope the Republicans are watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us.
Trump’s new commentary on voter fraud seems to be coming from political strategist and Trump’s close adviser Roger Stone, who told Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos Sunday that Trump has to "begin talking about it constantly."
"I think we have widespread voter fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly," Stone said.
"He needs to say for example, today would be a perfect example: ‘I am leading in Florida. The polls all show it. If I lose Florida, we will know that there’s voter fraud. If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.’"
Stone added that if Clinton were to "steal" this and win, her inauguration would be a "bloodbath":
"If you can’t have an honest election, nothing else counts," he continued. "I think he’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath. The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No, we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it."
Stone’s threat of violence, paired with Trump’s talk of voter fraud, signal that if met with loss in November, Trump would refuse to concede. The United States has peaceful transfers of power because the loser admits defeat. But for Trump, who is obsessed with winning, that is seemingly unthinkable.