Donald Trump got backing for his favorite causes – a U.S.-Mexican wall and getting tough on trade – in the proposed Republican Party platform Tuesday, evidence that party insiders are warming to their presumptive nominee.
Platform-writers agreed to endorse building a wall along the U.S. southern border, and to soften the party’s historic support for free trade.
Platform Committee Chairman John Barrasso, a U.S. senator from Wyoming, made it clear as he wrapped up two days of platform deliberations that Trump’s views were welcome.
The platform, Barrasso said, "lays out in clear language the path to making America great and united again." Trump’s campaign slogan has been "make America great again."
The platform now goes to the full Republican convention, which is expected to ratify it early next week.
Trump still faces challenges as the convention nears. Rules-writers will meet beginning Thursday, and a sizeable bloc of delegates is actively seeking ways to stop his nomination, or at least have delegates take a "vote of conscience."
Trump has far more delegates than needed for the nomination. Should a rules change leave delegates unbound to a candidate on the first ballot, the New York business mogul could face trouble.
Odds are that won’t happen, and the platform deliberations illustrated how Trump’s forces are pushing hard to make the convention, which opens Monday, his. His lieutenants made clear what he wanted in the platform.
The wall, the platform-writers say, would cover "the entirety of the Southern Border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic." But it doesn’t mention who will pay. Trump has insisted Mexico will pick up the cost; Mexico’s president reiterated this week it will not.
Trump forces also steered the platform away from the party’s support for free trade. Instead, it urges Congress to look carefully at pending trade deals, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership. Trump, as well as presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, opposes the U.S. pact with 11 Pacific Rim nations.
The Trump forces, though, reportedly avoided getting too involved in the social issues that dominated much of the platform deliberation. The committee took tough stands against same sex marriage, abortion and gun control.
"They haven’t in any way weighed in on the gun issue," said Kansas delegate Kris Kobach of the Trump lieutenants.
The Republican platform committee has 112 members, two from each state, territory and the District of Columbia