As the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, is warning the United States that on Nov. 8 he will stand onstage, fingers in ears, declaring that there's no way he lost the election because it was rigged or something, a former Republican presidential nominee is telling him that's not how elections work.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who lost the 2008 election to Barack Obama, said on Thursday that "in every previous election, the loser congratulates the winner and calls them 'my president.'"
According to NBC News correspondent Hallie Jackson, McCain said, "That's not just the Republican way or the Democratic way. It's the American way." He added, "This election must not be any different."
McCain even laid out why it's important to understand that, yes, our political system is not always perfect, but the goal is to rise above the fray and not listen to the worst instincts which bring our country down.
There have been some irregularities in our elections, sometimes even fraud, but never to an extent that it affected the outcome. We should all be proud of that, and respect the decision of the majority even when we disagree with it. Especially when we disagree with it.
I didn't like the outcome of the 2008 election. But I had a duty to concede, and I did so without reluctance. A concession isn't just an exercise in graciousness. It is an act of respect for the will of the American people, a respect that is every American leader's first responsibility.
In fact, here's what he said in 2008:
Controversial Maine Gov. Paul LePage offered similar criticism, telling Trump to "take your licks and move on four years."
LePage, a Republican, told Portland, Maine, news radio station WGAN on Thursday, "Not accepting the results, I think, is a stupid comment." He added, "I mean, c’mon. Get over yourself."
Last week, LePage was squarely on Team Trump, suggesting to CNN that "we need a Donald Trump to show some authoritarian power in our country and bring back the rule of law" after eight years under "autocrat" President Barack Obama.
Before the debate on Wednesday, LePage even tried to corroborate Trump's baseless voter fraud claims by arguing on radio station WVOM that "people from the cemetery" will be voting "all around the country" as a result of lax Democratic voter ID laws.