WASHINGTON (AP) - Arizona Sen. John McCain, who lost the 2008 presidential election to Barack Obama, says he conceded defeat "without reluctance" even though he didn't like the outcome.
McCain said in a powerful statement that he doesn't know who will win this presidential election. But he says the loser has always congratulated the winner and called him "my president."
Whatever our differences we owe each other that respect, which we express by defending the democratic values and practices that protect us all.
McCain said, "That's not just the Republican way or the Democratic way. It's the American way. This election must not be any different."
McCain did not mention Donald Trump by name in his statement Thursday following the Republican presidential nominee's refusal to say whether he will accept the election result.
Trump is saying he won't commit to honoring the results of November's election because he wants to reserve his right to file a legal challenge "in the case of a questionable result."
Trump, speaking in Ohio on Thursday, said "of course I would accept a clear election result." But he stressed that he was not sure he would receive one, citing misleading statistics on voter fraud. He alleged without evidence that Hillary Clinton's campaign was trying to "rig" the election.
Trump made the unprecedented assertion during the final presidential debate Wednesday. Asked if he would concede if he loses the election, Trump said, "I will look at it at the time."
He opened his rally in Delaware, Ohio by joking that he would honor the result "if I win."
All Arizonans and all Americans should be confident in the integrity of our elections. Free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power are the pride of our country, and the envy of much of the world because they are the means to protecting our most cherished values, the right to liberty and equal justice.
McCain withdrew his tepid endorsement of Trump after a video surfaced of Trump bragging about groping women.