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GOP adopts platform softening language on abortion, gay marriage

GOP adopts platform softening language on abortion, gay marriage

Republican lawmakers adopted presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s proposed congressional platform at a rally in Milwaukee on Monday, abandoning long-held positions on abortion and gay marriage while embracing new plans for mass deportations and renewed opposition to changing the Social Security retirement age.

“This is something that I hope you will adopt. You will adopt it quickly and we will show unity in our party as opposed to the disaster that is going on with the Democrats,” Trump said as he dialed into the meeting, according to attendees who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private event. “We are going to win because we have justice on our side. We have goodness on our side. I think, quite frankly, we have God on our side. These people are against religion.”

According to a person present at the closed meeting, the final score was 84-18.

The document, which features a lengthy introduction in Trump’s voice, ignored the concerns of anti-abortion activists who had announced before the meeting that they wanted the document to explicitly call for a constitutional amendment to give embryos or fetuses legal rights.

Instead, the document said the Constitution’s due process clause gives states the authority “to pass laws protecting these rights.”

“After 51 years, that power, thanks to us, has been given to the states and to a voice of the people,” the document reads, according to a copy of the document obtained by The Washington Post. “We will oppose late-term abortion while supporting mothers and policies that promote prenatal care, access to birth control and IVF (fertility treatments).”

The document was presented Monday to members of the Republican convention platform committee, a group handpicked by Trump campaign leaders. The 2016 platform, which Trump used in his 2020 reelection campaign, called for a constitutional amendment to affirm the constitutional due process rights of embryos and fetuses and a statewide law banning abortion, with limited exceptions, after about 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Trump has changed his stance on the issue since the Supreme Court struck down the fundamental right to the procedure in earlier stages of pregnancy, arguing that each state should come up with its own regulations.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a member of the platform committee, expressed disappointment with the outcome. “The 2024 platform is a fair statement of campaign priorities, but not necessarily the enduring principles of the party,” he said in a statement, objecting to the lack of room for amendments. “Unfortunately, the process was inappropriate for constitutional conservatives.”

Ralph Reed, the head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, who had publicly warned Trump against changing the abortion language, thanked the former president in a statement for including language saying that the Constitution’s due process clause gives states the authority to restrict abortion.

“That language has been in the GOP platform for 40 years and reflects Ronald Reagan’s vision,” Reed said. “While ambitious, it applies to both the states and the federal government.”

Eight anti-abortion and socially conservative leaders, including Reed and Perkins, wrote a letter to Trump on June 10 demanding that the platform support federal legal restrictions on abortion and include the following sentence: “We support an amendment to the Constitution and Human Life Act to make clear that the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment apply to children before birth.”

The platform reflects a complete takeover of the party by Trump and reads almost like one of his rally speeches. It officially enshrines the mass deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants as the platform of the Republican Party; proposes to abolish the Department of Education; calls for “deporting pro-Hamas radicals”; build a “great Iron Dome” over the country; “end the weaponization of the Department of Justice”; cancel the electric vehicle mandate; and “FIGHT FOR AND PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WITH NO CUTS, INCLUDING NO CHANGES TO THE RETIREMENT AGE.”

“We will implement measures to secure our elections, including voter ID, highly advanced paper ballots, proof of citizenship, and same-day voting,” the platform said.

The platform also shows how far the party has come on trade issues under Trump. The party now supports tariffs, the platform says. Language from the 2016 Republican platform that supported Puerto Rico’s ability to pursue state sovereignty was also removed from the new document.

The 2016 document was much more expansive, at 54 pages of dense text. Trump advisers have indicated that they wanted the new document to directly reflect Trump’s views, a break from the past tradition under which Republican activists have the authority to shape the document in consultation with the presumptive nominee’s campaign, often resulting in language that differed in emphasis and detail from the candidate’s own public statements.

Vincent Haley, a former deputy assistant to the president during Trump’s first term, largely wrote the document released Monday, according to people familiar with the process who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private activities. Trump later reviewed and edited the document, the people said. He redrew section headings, changed language and expanded the bulleted list in the introduction from 10 to 20, one of the people said.

The former president convened a meeting of the platform committee on Monday, a source familiar with the meeting said.

“For decades, our politicians have sold our jobs and livelihoods to the highest bidders abroad through unfair trade deals and blind faith in the siren song of globalism. They have insulated themselves from criticism and the consequences of their own evil actions, allowing our borders to be breached, our cities to be overrun with crime, our justice system to be weaponized, and our young people to feel a sense of hopelessness and despair. They have rejected our history and our values. In short, they have done everything in their power to destroy our country,” the official platform of the Republican Party now reads.

The new platform draft also removes language from 2016 that condemned the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision to give same-sex couples the right to marry. The new language does not apply to same-sex marriage.

“Republicans will promote a culture that values ​​the sanctity of marriage, the blessings of childhood, and the fundamental role of families, and supports working parents,” it reads instead. “We will end policies that punish families.”

The 2016 platform endorsed the idea that parents could seek “conversion therapy” for children because of their sexuality. “We support the right of parents to determine the appropriate medical treatment and therapy for their minor children,” it said.

The new platform drops that language. stops short of trying to ban parents from seeking medical treatment for minor children, while condemning any taxpayer funding of such procedures. “We will keep men out of women’s sports, ban taxpayer funding for sex reassignment surgery, and stop taxpayer-funded schools from promoting gender transition, roll back Biden’s sweeping rewrite of Title IX education regulations, and restore protections for women and girls,” the platform reads.

The language around abortion in the new platform acknowledges the 14th Amendment but makes no mention of further constitutional changes. “We stand proudly for families and life. We believe the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that no person shall be deprived of life or liberty without due process of law, and that the states are therefore free to enact laws protecting these rights,” it says.