As Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller hunkers down, subpoenas stalk the corridors of power, and James Comey is set to testify before Congress, how about having a word or two with the Chair and Co-Chairs of the 2016 GOP Platform Committee?
‘Seems like it’s about time to revisit the story of changes to the 2016 GOP Platform that
dramatically altered the party’s position on arming the Ukraine to resist Russian incursions.
Perhaps Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming (chair), Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma (co-vice-chair) and Rep. Virginia Foxx of N.C.(the other co-vice-chair) could shed some light on the subject.
News reports contemporary to the Convention indicated that, at the behest of the Trump team, the party platform was altered, eliminating a call for lethal defense arms to be supplied to the Ukrainians for their fight against the Russians. That story was later challenged by, among others in the Trump campaign’s inner circle, Paul Manafort, international man of mystery, himself.
On July 18, The Washington Post wrote:
The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.
Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked as a lobbyist for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.
“This is another example of Trump being out of step with GOP leadership and the mainstream in a way that shows he would be dangerous for America and the world,” said Rachel Hoff, another platform committee member who was in the room.
Of course Mr. Manafort has suffered a marked credibility downgrade since last summer, but the FBI would, nevertheless, very much like a word with him.
If we are to believe the denials of Manafort and the rest of Trump’s retinue, we are forced to accept that the revision to the platform just happened spontaneously, unaided by human intervention. It certainly wasn’t proposed by any mainstream Republicans, who have predictably been even more hostile to the Russians than have Democrats.
One could be forgiven for forgetting Republican hawks’ traditional hard position on Russia, as they have recently become such fervent apologists for Donald Trump (and, by extension, Russia) tut-tutting the very idea of Russian intervention on Trump’s behalf. Only Lindsey Graham and John McCain seem at all familiar on the subject.
It’s positively surreal; but that’s the new GOP.
Anyway, if the chair and co-chair persons can’t shed some light on this odd transformation of policy, there are a couple of other platform delegates whom I am sure would be more than happy to tell us what happened.
According to NPR (Aug. 21, 2016):
“It started when platform committee member Diana Denman tried to insert language calling for the U.S. to provide lethal defensive weapons to the Ukrainian government, which is fighting a separatist insurrection backed by Russia. Denman says she had no idea she was “going into a fire fight,” calling it “an interesting exchange, to say the least…
The Trump campaign convinced the platform committee to change Denman’s proposal. It went from calling on the U.S. to provide Ukraine “lethal defensive weapons” to the more benign phrase “appropriate assistance…”
…Another GOP delegate on the platform committee, Rachel Hoff, is a national security analyst with the American Action Forum and believe the final platform language signals that a Trump administration would refuse to send lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine.”