Donald Trump has claimed that there is a possibility of the US presidential election being “rigged” as he tried to divert attention away from a disastrous week for his campaign by also labelling his rival Hillary Clinton as “the devil” and praising the primary opponent of Republican speaker Paul Ryan.
The Republican nominee has in the past few days faced a barrage of criticism following his controversial comments about the Gold Star parents of a Muslim soldier killed in Iraq.
In response to an emotional attack on him by the parents of 27-year-old army captain Humayun Khan, who died in a suicide bombing, Trump had claimed to have made sacrifices equal to their son.
A range of figures and organizations from across the political spectrum from John McCain to Barack Obama to the Veterans of Foreign Wars have criticized him for his comments.
But at rallies on Monday Trump declined to address that controversy and, in moments typical of his campaign so far, decided to ignite others.
At a campaign town hall in Columbus, Ohio, Trump said he feared that the election would be “rigged,” in an unprecedented statement for a major party nominee in modern history.
“I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” he told the crowd.