WASHINGTON: Making an unprecedented assertion, Republican party presidential nominee Donald Trump has said that he fears the upcoming presidential election "is going to be rigged".
"I'm afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest," Trump said yesterday during a town hall in Columbus, Ohio.
The 69-year-old White House hopeful who emerged as the winner of a tough Republican presidential primary of 17 candidates claimed his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton had to fight only against Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont.
"I had 17 people. I wasn't running against two people. I had 17 people. I got a similar number to Hillary Clinton, and she had Bernie and she had a hard time putting Bernie away, and Bernie, poor Bernie. He looked so upset. You know what, he made a mistake. He shouldn't have made a deal. He lost, he lost," Trump said.
"First of all, it was rigged, and I'm afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest. Because I think my side was rigged, if I didn't win by massive landslides, I mean, think of what we won in New York and Indiana, California, 78 percent. That's with other people in the race," he said.
"But think of it. I hear more and more that the election on November 8, can you believe, we're almost there. This started on June 16 of last year and I said, wow, let's go do it. Takes guts to do this, believe me. And everybody said no, it takes guts. I could be having a very nice life right now. I don't have to be with you people, ranting and raving. Could have a very nice life," he added.
Trump's comments against father of a slain Pakistani-origin American Muslim soldier has drawn major criticism with his own party leaders coming out openly against the Republican presidential nominee.
While House Speaker Paul Ryan said a "religious test" for entering the US is "not reflective of the country's fundamental values", former Florida Governor Jeb Bush termed remarks as "disrespectful" in targetting a family that endured the "ultimate sacrifice" for the country.
Clinton also slammed Trump for his "absolute allegiance" to Russia that raises "national security" concerns, prompting him to deny having any "relationship" with Russian President Vladimir Putin.