Amid signs that Speaker Paul Ryan and Donald Trump are attempting ease tensions over Ryan saying he isn’t ready to endorse Trump. And just RNC Chairman Reince Priebus tells Mike Gallagher that Donald Trump doesn’t want to rewrite the Republican Party’s platform, we learn that there is a move afoot by Sen. Ted Cruz backers to seize control of the Republican platform and the rules governing the party’s July convention.
Maggie Haberman reports that this morning Trump disavowed any hand in Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Ryan’s primary challenger. And Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Christian Schneider, he’ll do whatever Trump asks him to do. Which includes stepping down as convention chairman.
Then the chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus told Mike Gallagher in an interview that the presumptive GOP nominee could eliminate some tension in the party – particularly with conservatives in the “Never Trump” movement – by declaring support for its platform:
“Donald Trump is not wanting to rewrite the platform. So all that anxiety, just take it off the table,” Priebus said on the radio program. “But get into that, tell people that, that you don’t want to rewrite, you appreciate and agree with the platform the way it is.”
Just as we learn that the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin reports that in an email sent to pro-Cruz convention delegates, a top aide to the Texas senator wrote that it was “still possible to advance a conservative agenda at the convention”:
“To do that, it is imperative that we fill the Rules and Platform Committees with strong conservative voices like yours,” wrote Ken Cuccinelli, who was the campaign’s former delegate wrangler and a former attorney general of Virginia. “That means you need to come to the national convention and support others in coming, too!”
Mr. Cruz is planning a Monday evening conference call where, as Mr. Cuccinelli writes, Mr. Cruz’s former officials plan to “discuss what we can do at the convention to protect against liberal changes to our platform, and how we can right the wrongs in the rules from 2012!”
The “wrongs” Mr. Cuccinelli was referring to are the changes pushed through at the last convention by supporters of Mitt Romney that would have made it harder for a candidate’s name to be placed in nomination.
Cruz supporters and other conservative activists are concerned about Trump’s general election agenda.
The party’s convention rules and policy platform are determined every four years by temporary committees comprised of a select group of convention delegates. The rules and platform are then ratified or rejected by all the delegates at the convention. According to Martin Cuccinelli said Cruz had no intention of trying to rewrite convention rules in an effort to deny Mr. Trump the nomination:
“It’s important that this not appear as though we are pulling at stunt at this convention,” he said, adding that the goal is to advocate for policies preferred by the sort of hard-line conservatives who backed Mr. Cruz’s campaign.
“This is about protecting movement conservatism,” he said, pointing to party planks on abortion and saying the delegates should consider language regarding transgender bathroom access.
Given the strong negative feelings Conservative activists and pundits hold toward The Donald and his history of positions antithetical to Republican orthodoxy on almost every major issue important to Conservatives, this move to take control of the Platform has a good chance of blowing up any chance of a possible rapprochement between Trump and the GOP Establishment not to mention Conservatives long unhappy with both.