Memo Reveals Trump’s Plan to Slash the Size of the G.O.P. Platform

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Donald J. Trump’s top advisers are planning to drastically scale back and simplify the official platform of the Republican Party, according to a memo sent to the party’s platform committee that was reviewed by The New York Times.

The memo — signed by Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles, the former president’s two lead advisers — described their efforts to pare down the platform “to ensure our policy commitments to the American people are clear, concise and easily digestible.” It dismissed past platforms as needlessly “textbook-long” documents shaped by “special interest influence” that had left the party and its nominee open to attacks from Democrats.

“Publishing an unnecessarily verbose treatise will provide more fuel for our opponent’s fire of misinformation and misrepresentation to voters,” the memo read. “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 was sent on Thursday ahead of the G.O.P.’s gathering in Milwaukee next month, where it will first vote on its platform and then hold its national convention to select a presidential nominee.

The decision to cut the size of the platform sharply — the most recent one adopted by the party, in 2016, ran nearly 60 pages — is likely to prompt skirmishes among some conservatives and party activists who have spent years haggling over the document’s language. One person close to the process who was granted anonymity to speak about the planning said the new platform could be half the size of the one in 2016.

Anti-abortion activists, in particular, have been gearing up for a fight in case the Trump team seeks to dilute or delete longstanding language in order to make Mr. Trump appear more moderate on the issue.

In hopes of keeping any disagreements out of the public view, the party is planning to have the platform committee meet behind closed doors in Milwaukee a week before the broader convention. That would be a break from decades of precedent. The party’s platform committee meetings have been televised since at least 1984, according to C-SPAN archives.

By closing the process, Mr. LaCivita and Ms. Wiles argue that they will reject “any special interest influence that seeks to make public policy stray from our clear and straightforward objectives.”

Mr. Trump had considered shrinking the platform in 2020 but ultimately abandoned the idea.

The memo makes clear that the Trump team sees the Republican National Committee platform almost exclusively as a tool to outline a contrast with President Biden in the 2024 race rather than as a way to set longer-term goals for the party.

“If we do not provide voters with clarity on the binary choice between President Trump’s and Republicans’ leadership versus that of Joe Biden and the Democrats, no one will do it for us,” they wrote, calling the platform “a contract with the American voter that makes clear what we can and will deliver under a President Trump administration.”

Newt Gingrich, the Republican former House speaker who called his own legislative agenda the “Contract with America,” has been among those who have pushed for a streamlined platform that he said “should be a Trump document.”

He said voters across the country “should be able to look at it and say, ‘Wow, this is a good thing.’”

That is not how many conservative activists view the document. They see it as setting an aspirational vision for decades to come.

“The platform is not simply about 2024,” said Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, an anti-abortion group. “It’s about 2034 and 2044. It’s a vision statement about where the party needs to go.”

In 2020, Mr. Trump bypassed having a platform fight at all, choosing simply to readopt the 2016 platform because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2016 document covered an enormously wide span of issues. It thanked, for example, the president of Egypt for protecting the rights of Coptic Christians and supported legislation to protect Americans “against an electromagnetic pulse.”

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.



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