Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, issued a statement on Thursday calling on the presidential candidates to respect the results of the November election.
“There have been irregularities in our elections, sometimes even fraud, but never to an extent that it affected the outcome,” McCain said in a statement. “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.”
McCain did not explicitly name Republican nominee Donald Trump in his statement, but it came the day after the GOP nominee declined to say at the final debate whether he would accept the November election result.
“I didn’t like the outcome of the 2008 election,” McCain said. “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.”
The Arizona Republican said it was important that every candidate defend “the democratic values and practices that protect us all.”
“I don’t know who’s going to win the presidential election,” McCain said. “I do know that in every previous election, the loser congratulates the winner and calls them, ‘my president.’ That’s not just the Republican way or the Democratic way. It’s the American way.”
The five-term senator concluded: “This election must not be any different.”