Charles Krauthammer says Trump's refusal to accept vote is 'political suicide,' but 'I almost admire him for it'

Charles Krauthammer calls Trump debate performance "political suicide"
(Image credit: Fox News/YouTube)

Charles Krauthammer thought the big winner of Wednesday night's final presidential debate was the moderator, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, he said on Fox News. But Donald Trump almost pulled off a win, too, he said. Almost. "Trump had a really good night, but here the consensus is right: He blew it up by a totally wrong answer on accepting the results," Krauthammer said. "And in some sense, I almost admire him for it. This was not a gaffe, where you say something off-the-cuff and it's what you think but it's wrong. You know that he'd been coached on this. You know that his vice president had said, 'of course we will accept the result,' and his campaign manager and his daughter. And you know he's convinced this is something he wants to take a stand on, and the calculation — this is political suicide. Because what was his task tonight? His task tonight was to stop the slide" of "people grudgingly going over to Clinton."

Wavering voters won't change their minds about Hillary Clinton, he argued, but they might have been persuaded to come back to Trump if he had made himself "less toxic and acceptable as president, and less radical — yes, they want a change agent, they think the country's on the wrong track, but they don't want a radical who will challenge the foundations of the republic." Earlier on Fox News, Bill Bennett had said that Trump is right to keep people guessing, and Trump obviously agrees, Krauthammer said. "I'm sure his calculation is that it's not going to cost him, and it's going to help him. I don't understand that calculation. But I do think he said it out of conviction. He's a man who says, 'I'm not a loser,' so if he does lose it's gotta be something else." Watch below. Peter Weber

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.