Trump staffers and surrogates late Wednesday compared Trump’s jarring promise at the final presidential debate to keep voters “in suspense” about his acceptance of November’s election results to former Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore’s acceptance of a recount in the state of Florida in 2000.
“No one has ever conceded an election before the election actually takes place,” spokesman Jason Miller said on Fox News. “Nobody wants an Al Gore, who goes out and concedes, and then unconcedes, and then concedes again.”
Trump’s weeks of alleging the November presidential election would be “rigged,” in polling places and via voter fraud, culminated in his stunning debate answer as to whether he’d accept the election results: “I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense, okay?”
Former New York City mayor and Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani denied that Trump would use what he calls biased media coverage as ground to declare the election illegitimate, but he did compare Al Gore asking for a recount in Florida to the possibility that Trump would not accept the election’s outcome.
“Legally, the only way you could challenge it is if there is some kind of election fraud or a miscount, which is what Gore did,” former New York City mayor and Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani said on MSNBC.
In 2000, a perilously close popular vote in the state of Florida triggered an automatic machine recount of ballots in the state. Only after that recount showed the race even closer than it was previously—just 327 votes separated the two candidates out of 6 million votes total across the state—did Gore opt to pursue a hand recount in four counties, a right granted to him by Florida law.
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, neglected those particulars when she brought up Gore after the debate.
“Al Gore had already conceded the election to George W. Bush in 2000, Chris, we remember the night well,” Conway told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. “And then he called to retract his concession, and it went on for six weeks, it went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.”
Conway neglected to mention that, the day after the Supreme Court ordered the state of Florida to stop its recount of ballots on December 12, 2000, Al Gore conceded the race and called George W. Bush to congratulate him on his victory.