Trump campaign pushes for pared-down GOP platform as allies fret over abortion stance

Top advisers to Donald Trump are plotting an overhaul of the Republican Party platform that will dramatically slash its size and refocus the GOP around the former president’s agenda for a second term.

A memo from Trump campaign managers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles dated Thursday criticized past platforms as too long and too heavily influenced by special interests and outside groups. A “clear, concise and easily digestible” platform will be easier for voters to understand and harder for political opponents to attack, they wrote.

“Publishing an unnecessarily verbose treatise will provide more fuel for our opponent’s fire of misinformation and misrepresentation to voters,” the memo said. “It is with that recognition that we will present a streamlined platform in line with President Trump’s principled and popular vision for America’s future.”

The memo, obtained Saturday by CNN, was first reported by The New York Times.

The party’s most recent platform, crafted in 2016 and reapproved in 2020, spans 66 pages. A person familiar with the planning said the goal for the upcoming platform is a concise document that is “a couple dozen pages,” written in clearer language and likely reflecting Trump’s top priorities.

That person went on to say that when platform committees convened ahead of previous conventions, their meetings were attended by lobbyists and special interest groups trying to insert specific line items for their clients into the party platform. LaCivita and Wiles wrote they want a platform that will “free our Party from the constraints of Washington jargon and the shackles of lobbyist influence.”

The memo comes amid intensifying anxiety from conservative groups over the direction of the platform ahead of next month’s Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. There is especially concern among anti-abortion groups that Thursday’s memo is signaling Trump intends to remove the platform’s long-standing commitment to a federal abortion ban and an amendment to the US Constitution giving the unborn the same rights as people.

“The party is fully united, and taking out the pro-life language risks dividing the party,” said one Trump ally who is deeply involved in the anti-abortion movement and is aware of the memo from LaCivita and Wiles.

The existing platform also lays out the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage and new gun restrictions. It embraces changes to Medicare and Social Security for people under 55 — some of which has become fodder for Democratic messaging in recent election cycles.

Trump’s campaign is especially aware of how Democrats have weaponized the GOP platform in the past and is seeking to avoid a lengthy document full of potential landmines for the former president to navigate.

“The platform is an opportunity to make our vision clear, and to lay out a framework for policy making, while rejecting any special interest influence that seeks to make public policy stray from our clear and straightforward objectives,” LaCivita and Wiles wrote.

But by laying down markers in advance of next month’s convention, Trump’s campaign is further asserting his dominance over a party more fully in his control. Already, Trump this year has ousted the party’s previous chair, Ronna McDaniel, and installed close allies atop the GOP — his daughter-in-law Lara Trump and North Carolina GOP leader Michael Whatley.

The platform committee, meanwhile, will be led by three close allies: Randy Evans, Trump’s former ambassador to Luxembourg; Russell Vought, a top official in the Trump administration; and Ed Martin, president of the right-wing interest group the Phyllis Schlafly Eagles and author of the 2016 book “The Conservative Case for Trump.”

That committee will meet behind closed doors ahead of the convention, which begins July 15. Unlike in previous years, its deliberations will not be broadcast by C-SPAN, a source confirmed.

This headline has been updated.

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