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Trump calls for a ‘new and updated’ GOP platform after party moves to keep its 2016 document

President Trump walks from the Oval Office to board Marine One and depart for Camp David from the South Lawn at the White House last month.
President Trump walks from the Oval Office to board Marine One and depart for Camp David from the South Lawn at the White House last month. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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President Trump on Friday called on the Republican National Committee to adopt a “new and updated platform” after the party’s executive committee voted this week to keep the current one in place for logistical reasons related to the late move of its high-profile convention events to Jacksonville, Fla.

The decision to readopt the 2016 platform prompted a flurry of media reports Thursday about many instances of language critical of the “current administration” and “the president” that in 2016 was aimed at President Barack Obama — but now could be read as targeting Trump.

“The Republican Party has not yet voted on a Platform,” Trump said in a morning tweet. “No rush. I prefer a new and updated Platform, short form, if possible.”

The GOP’s decision to keep its 2016 platform is, well, a little awkward for Trump

It was not immediately clear how Trump’s wish would be accomplished. While the RNC is moving Trump’s acceptance speech and other parts of the convention proceedings to Jacksonville, other meetings will still be conducted in Charlotte, the original choice of a convention site, in keeping with party rules and obligations. Part of the rationale for not updating the platform was to avoid having convention delegates travel to Charlotte to do so.

The 2016 platform was critical of Obama and his administration on a wide range of issues, including an increase in the national debt, its frequent issuance of executive orders and an alleged alienation of U.S. allies.

“The current Administration has abandoned America’s friends and rewarded its enemies,” the platform says in just one instance that now could be misinterpreted as criticizing Trump.

The decision to keep the 2016 platform also means that the GOP’s official positions on issues such as same-sex marriage — the party endorsed only “traditional marriages” in the document — will remain the same.

Before the decision of the executive committee, Trump and his aides had been talking for months about adopting a slimmer document than the 58-page one approved in 2016.

Axios reported in May that campaign officials, reporting to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, were aiming to reduce the document to something that could fit on a pocket card.

The RNC decided to move major parts of the convention to Jacksonville after the committee was unable to secure assurances from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) that large-scale gatherings could be held amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

In a television interview Friday, RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the party will have a “packed arena” in Jacksonville, in contrast with what would have happened in Charlotte.

“We’re obviously going to put safety checks in place to make sure the convention goers are safe,” McDaniels said during an appearance on Fox News. “But we’re going to have a packed arena, and we’re going to recognize the renomination of our president as we go on to reelect him in November, and it’s going to be a great celebration.”

McDaniel said “it became very apparent” that Cooper “was not going to give us guidelines so that we could hold our convention. And we had to move the celebration part to Florida, but we’ll still have the business of the convention in North Carolina. We love both states.”

Aaron Blake contributed to this report.