WASHINGTON - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump conceded Sunday he is losing support from women, but he blamed it on media accounts of women who he says falsely accused him of sexual assault.
Trump tweeted that the polls show the race with Democrat Hillary Clinton remains close, "but can you believe I lost large numbers of women voters based on made up events THAT NEVER HAPPENED. Media rigging election!"
Polls close, but can you believe I lost large numbers of women voters based on made up events THAT NEVER HAPPENED. Media rigging election!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2016
He repeated his charge that the media is biased against him, "in a coordinated effort with the Clinton campaign, by putting stories that never happened into news!"
Clinton's vice presidential running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, mocked Trump's allegations, telling one interviewer, "He's blaming the media. He's blaming (Republicans). He's saying that America can't run a fair election. He is swinging at every phantom of his own imagination because he knows he's losing."
But Trump's vice presidential pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, told NBC television's Meet the Press that Trump will accept the outcome of the election.
"The American people will speak in an election that will culminate on November the 8th. But the American people are tired of the obvious bias in the national media. That's where the sense of a rigged election goes here.”
Polls: Clinton has 5.5% lead
Her lead, both polls show, is built chiefly among women, who could help make her the country's 45th president and its first female chief executive. The Post- ABC survey says she has a nine-percentage-point lead among women, while Trump leads among men by a point. The NBC-Wall Street Journal survey says Clinton has a 20-point lead among women, while Trump has a three-point edge among men.
A national average of polls compiled by Real Clear Politics shows Clinton with a 5.5-percentage point lead. Two major polls were released Sunday, with The Washington Post-ABC News survey showing her advantage at 47 to 43 percent among likely voters, while NBC News and The Wall Street Journal said their polling shows Clinton with a bigger edge, 48-37.
It also gives Clinton a 20-point lead among women, while Trump has a 3-point edge among men.
Trump's presidential campaign may have been destroyed by allegations of lewd and disrespectful comments and behavior towards women, including charges by several women dating back to the 1980s that he touched or kissed them inappropriately.
Trump was caught on camera in 2005 telling a TV personality that he can grope women because he is a "star."
Trump apologized for those remarks and called the women who accuse him of sexual assault "liars," mocking them by saying some of them are not attractive enough to grab his attention.
Upcoming third debate
Trump and Clinton face off in their third and final debate Wednesday in Las Vegas. With no evidence to back it up, he suggested Clinton was on drugs at their last debate last week, and said they each should undergo drug testing before Wednesday.
He also accused her of meeting with global financial leaders to "plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty" and said she ought to be jailed for the way she handled her emails when she was secretary of state.
Clinton is staying off the campaign trail to prepare for the last debate.
She is likely to face questions about thousands of hacked emails from the account of her campaign chief John Podesta that WikiLeaks has disclosed in recent days.
The messages include the full transcripts of three speeches she gave to executives at investment banker Goldman Sachs in 2013 for which she was paid $675,000, along with comments by her campaign staffers about how to handle challenging campaign issues.
She told bankers in one speech that she had "great relations" with them when she was a New York senator and attempted to flatter her audience by saying the banking industry knows regulatory issues better than anyone else.
Publicly, Clinton has excoriated Wall Street and big banks, saying they need more government regulation.
The Clinton campaign has not disputed the authenticity of the Podesta emails and suspects Russia of the hacks. The FBI is investigating.
Meanwhile, police in Orange County, North Carolina say a bottle of flammable liquid was thrown through the window of the local Republican Party headquarters overnight Saturday, setting fire to furniture and damaging the office.
No one was hurt. A slogan reading: "Nazi Republicans, leave town or else" was spray-painted on a nearby wall.