Us Politics

Trump-backed Republican platform tempers language on abortion

FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a campaign event in Chesapeake

By James Oliphant and Helen Coster

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Republican Party released its platform on Monday that denies anti-abortion activists within the party the far-reaching language they sought on abortion and embraces the views of its presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

The platform, a formal statement of party goals, puts forward Trump’s position that the issue of abortion is to be determined by individual U.S. states. It makes no mention of a federal ban or protecting a fetus as a person under the U.S. Constitution – tenets that have been included in past platforms and were demanded by a cadre of influential evangelicals.

The platform, which is not binding, also pledges that Trump and Republicans will build a missile defense shield over the United States, carry out “the largest deportation in American history” of people in the country illegally, make permanent Trump’s signature tax cuts and pass “large tax cuts for workers” while demolishing foreign drug cartels, protecting Medicare and Social Security benefits, and supporting public funds being used for private school tuition.

All are policies Trump advocates on the campaign trail, underscoring his grip on the party ahead of its convention next week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he will be formally nominated to take on President Joe Biden in a Nov. 5 election.

Trump called into the platform committee meeting on Monday and spoke to its members for about 15 to 20 minutes, said Ben Proto, a committee member from Connecticut, where he serves as the party’s state chair.

Proto said there was little debate over the platform’s provisions, which will be presented to the party at large for adoption at the convention.

“Pretty much everybody on the committee understood that this was his document,” Proto said. “This was his vision. It aligns very closely with, obviously, a lot of Republican positions.”

Not everybody, however, was on board. Tony Perkins, a prominent evangelical leader and a member of the platform committee, complained afterward that the process was “choreographed” and did not allow for disagreement.

“The 2024 platform is a concise statement of campaign priorities, but not a declaration of enduring principles for a political party,” Perkins said in a statement.

Perkins was among a group of social conservatives that last month sent Trump a letter asking him to preserve language from past platforms that called for “a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.”

The new platform falls short of that, instead only saying that states are now free to pass laws in accordance with the Constitution and with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 2022 overturning a woman’s right to abortion and enabling states to impose tougher restrictions.

It is silent on federal regulation of the abortion drug mifepristone – which some anti-abortion groups also want restricted – and notes that the party supports policies that advance IVF treatments, birth control and pre-natal care.

Trump campaign operatives had worked behind the scenes to try to fill the platform committee with people more amenable to accepting Trump’s stance on abortion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Still, one anti-abortion activist said on Monday that she was satisfied with the platform’s language.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America who last week warned the Trump campaign that its longstanding political alliance with social conservatives was in jeopardy if the party took a watered-down position on abortion, said in a statement that the party had reaffirmed its commitment to protect unborn life.

The Biden campaign condemned the platform’s abortion stance as extreme.

“Donald Trump has made it clear with his own words and actions what he will do if he regains power – rip away women’s freedoms, punish women and ban abortion nationwide,” spokesperson Sarafina Chitika said in a statement.

CLEAR PRIORITIES

The Trump campaign had indicated a desire for a simpler document than in the past, one with a clear distillation of Trump’s priorities if elected and free of special-interest jargon.

“President Trump’s 2024 Republican Party Platform articulates his vision to Make America Great Again in a way that is concise and digestible for every voter,” said Trump campaign senior advisers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles in a statement.

In a section focused on the economy, Republicans pledge to “end Democrats’ unlawful and unAmerican Crypto crackdown” and to defend the right to mine Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency.

Trump has portrayed himself as a champion for crypto, including at a San Francisco fundraiser in June with tech executives during which he slammed Democrats’ attempts to regulate the crypto sector.

The Republican platform calls for prohibiting China from “buying American Real Estate and Industries,” one of the broadest proposed restrictions yet on Chinese ownership of U.S. assets.

Trump has campaigned to eliminate Chinese Communist Party purchases of U.S. farmland and has promised to root out Chinese ownership of U.S. companies involved in critical sectors like energy, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications.

The document echoes other Trump pledges, including imposing a U.S. naval blockade to bar the entry of fentanyl, reviving a travel ban limiting entry to the country of people from largely Muslim-dominant countries, abolishing the Department of Education and emphasizing same-day voting over mail-in or early voting.

(Reporting by James Oliphant and Helen Coster. Additional reporting by Nathan Layne and Gram Slattery; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Alistair Bell, Howard Goller and Himani Sarkar)

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