Post-election unity? Clinton, Trump won't say yet
With a dozen days left until Election Day, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are refusing to commit to working with each other after the election, putting into question the winner's ability to heal the country's wounds after a volatile presidential race.
"I just want to make that decision at a later date," said Trump, when asked whether he would cooperate with a Clinton administration. "Hopefully I won't have to make that decision." He spoke in an interview broadcast Thursday on ABC's Good Morning, America.
Clinton, meanwhile, dodged a question about whether she would meet one-on-one with Trump after the election.
"I certainly intend to reach out to Republicans and independents and the elected leadership of the Congress," Clinton told reporters on her campaign plane on Wednesday.
Traditionally, presidential candidates hold a well-publicised meeting in the weeks after the election. While the moment of bipartisanship is often short-lived, the public appearance sends an important signal to the country that both parties are ready to accept the will of the voters and move forward.
Privately, the 2016 candidates may be striking a more conciliatory tone. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the New York Archbishop, has said that in a warm private exchange at an otherwise testy charity dinner last week, Clinton had told Trump that "whatever happens, we need to work together afterward". Trump, he said, told Clinton "you are one tough and talented woman".
In the final weeks of the campaign, both candidates have begun to focus more on their post-election plans. Trump made two appearances at his hotels this week, raising questions about whether he is trying to shore up his corporate brand amid signs that his campaign has hurt his family businesses.
Trump has largely refused to back down from his defiant assault on the election's integrity, remaining unwilling to say whether he would accept the results if he loses. "Don't worry about it," he told ABC.
Clinton, too, has turned some of her focus to what happens after November 8, though her efforts assume she wins. Deep in transition planning, she has begun retooling her campaign message to emphasise unifying the country after a divisive race.