Media bombards Donald Trump surrogates after US presidential debate over his reluctance to accept result

LAS VEGAS - Republican candidate Donald Trump's top lieutenants came out in full force minutes after the final presidential debate ended on Wednesday (Oct 19) night, and were bombarded in the spin room with questions focused on his reluctance to accept the results of the election on Nov 8.

Journalists pounced on the first person to walk through the door - Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.

When asked if she - as campaign manager - would convince her candidate to accept the results even if he were to lose, she responded: "Absent evidence of widespread abuse and irregularities, yes I would say that, but I actually think I would be saying to him 'Congratulations Mr President.'"

Others in the spin room, just outside the debate hall at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, sought to clarify Mr Trump's statement that he would have to "look at it at the time".

Step-stepping Mr Trump's claims of voter fraud and a "corrupt media", Trump spokesman Katrina Pierson suggested a possible scenario in which her candidate would "absolutely not" accept the result.

"If there is an election in a county that changes the fate of an entire state like Pennsylvania, do you accept the election if there is a 20-vote difference? Absolutely not, you would contest that," she said.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump campaign adviser, also backed his candidate, calling the Clintons "cheaters".

However, if Mrs Clinton has a big win that "makes cheating irrelevant", Mr Giuliani said he too would accept the results.

For more than an hour, surrogates circled the spin room - which was about the size of two basketball courts - filled with more Trump surrogates than Clinton surrogates, while journalists clamoured to get sound bites or were busy filing their stories on the last presidential debate of the 2016 election.

One Clinton surrogate, Ms Donna Brazile, interim chairman for the Democratic National Committee, condemned Mr Trump's statements.

"Although elections can be close, elections can be really difficult, at the end of the day the voters... will decide the outcome not Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton," said Ms Brazile, who was also former campaign manager for former US vice-president Al Gore.

"Anyone who thinks they can make a mockery of our democracy by challenging the result, I think undermines confidence, not just in our government... but they undermine voter's confidence in the process itself."

Earlier in the day, there was a Taco truck protest in front of Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, where a group of food truck owners created a symbolic wall against hate.

"Donald Trump is completely unqualified to be president of United States, and we're here to support the boycott (of Trump). He says he is a great negotiator, but he won't even sit down and negotiate with is employees," said protester Bruce Fealk, 63, a retiree.