". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Pompeo on Watering Down the GOP Platform: ‘It’s a Mistake’

July 1, 2024

While the hand-wringing continues at Democratic headquarters over Joe Biden’s shockingly feeble debate, Republicans are speeding toward the convention with major questions of their own. The GOP may know who their nominee will be, but not what their party will represent. In a major departure from past years, news broke over the weekend that the Trump team is trying to “streamline” the platform, telling delegates that it should be short, clear, and concise — code, some worry, for leaving core principles behind.

The memo to delegates, signed by Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles, the former president’s two lead advisors, insists that “paring down” the platform will “ensure our policy commitments to the American people are … easily digestible.” The 2016 platform (which wasn’t amended in 2020 due to COVID) clocked in at about 60 pages, intentionally and thoroughly laying out the Republican position on everything from America’s electric grid to overseas abortion funding. Team Trump believes that level of specificity, “textbook-long” as they called it, leaves the GOP open to attack from the leftist media and Democrats.

“Publishing an unnecessarily verbose treatise will provide more fuel for our opponent’s fire of misinformation and misrepresentation to voters,” the missive 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.”

But to social conservatives, this is nothing but a sad attempt to skirt the abortion issue and untether the party from longtime values. “The platform is not simply about 2024,” Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, insisted. “It’s about 2034 and 2044. It’s a vision statement about where the party needs to go.”

Tim Chapman, who works for former Vice President Mike Pence’s political nonprofit, is rightly troubled. “The talk of changing the Republican party’s pro-life platform is deeply concerning for pro-life Americans across the country. There has only been one party that is the defender of life, and if Republicans back away from this fight, there will be no one to carry on this battle,” he stressed to ABC.

Adding to the alarm, this year’s platform committee meetings will be held in near-secrecy — a radical change from the past. As NPR warns, “The debate won’t be out in the open, as has happened in the past. This year the platform committee will meet a week before the convention and it will be closed to the press.” That’s also led to concerns that social conservatives will be strong-armed into supporting a diluted document, a point The Washington Post raised. “Some social conservatives have worried the party will make changes that soften its official stance on issues such as abortion. Antiabortion groups have called for the platform to nod to a federal role on abortion.”

And it’s not just the unborn who stand to be left behind, but the growing number of Republicans who are opposed to extremism like same-sex marriage and transgenderism. Of course, no one is quite sure what the former president’s team is envisioning since draft language for the platform hasn’t been widely circulated in advance of the platform meetings which kick off Sunday, July 7.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who was appointed as a delegate from Louisiana and will be a repeat member of the platform committee, talked about the threat to Republican ideals in a candid conversation with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday’s “This Week on the Hill.”

As a member of the Trump administration, “you did not sidestep politically difficult issues,” Perkins began. “Democrats want to make abortion an issue. Republicans want to avoid it. How should they address that going into this fall’s election?”

The former congressman and CIA director was blunt. “I think it’s a mistake for Republicans to avoid such an important critical issue. And I know it’s controversial. People have a wide range of views,” he acknowledged, “but I think it is so central to who we are as Americans to understand the value of every human life. And when you hear President [Joe] Biden give that answer [at the debate on abortion], it’s a bit nonsensical. But he gave the standard answer that … former Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and every Democrat gives,” which is that they support Roe v. Wade. And of course, Pompeo continued, supporting Roe means supporting no limits on abortion until the baby is born.

“That’s indecent,” Pompeo insisted. “That’s immoral. Everyone can see that this is a human life. And so it’s fundamental, in my view, that we should talk about it that way.” And while there are different opinions in the GOP about what the federal government can and should do to stop late-term abortions, he believes that “we, as a nation, have a responsibility to protect the unborn in every way that we can.” “It will be difficult to get federal legislative limits,” he admitted, but that doesn’t mean we abandon that fight. “I would encourage Congress to work on that. There has to be an outer limit, at the very least, at the federal level. This would be the deep, proper moral thing to do.”

While Trump’s advisors worry about “unnecessary drama” over the issue, the Kansan pointed out that ignoring life will only create more. At the end of the day, Pompeo pointed out, “I think when Republicans speak about [life] that way — from the heart, about how this is protecting human beings that we know to be human beings, I think the vast majority of Americans accept that as a fundamental principle. And we shouldn’t shy away from it. If we do, the Democrats will hit us over the head as a political matter,” he cautioned. “And worse yet, we won’t be able to save those lives that are so important for each of us to be involved in trying to save.”

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.