GOP strategist Steve Schmidt: 'Rigged' talk in final debate was 'a disqualifying moment' for Trump
Steve Schmidt appears on MSNBC (screen grab)

GOP strategist Steve Schmidt reacted to Donald Trump's performance at the third presidential debate by calling on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to condemn the Republican candidate for suggesting that the election is being "rigged."


Trump shocked onlookers at the debate on Wednesday by refusing to say that he would accept the outcome of the election.

"I will look at it at the time," Trump told moderator Chris Wallace, adding, "I will keep you in suspense."

Schmidt, who ran Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, called the remarks "a disqualifying moment" for Trump.

"It's a moment of clear and present danger to our constitutional order, to the republic," he said. "It's unprecedented in this history of the country. Constitutional officers like Paul Ryan are now at an hour where they're called to step forward, to exhibit political courage, to put the country first and to communicate very clearly that we have legitimate elections in this country and that is how we choose our leaders."

Schmidt pointed out that Trump seemed to lose control after the first minutes of the debate.

"Look at the end of the debate when he says, 'You nasty woman,'" he explained. "He was incoherent again on national security issues. He was like an old man in the park feeding squirrels arguing with himself on the question of Mosul. He was incoherent on the question of Aleppo, and just somebody who has not prepared himself over the course of the campaign on these vital national security issues."

Schmidt concluded that Trump had "broken a foundational political compact" by refusing to say he would accept the result of the election.

"And this is a moment for everybody involved in America's national life that I think is one of urgency," he insisted.

Watch the video below from MSNBC, broadcast Oct. 19, 2016.