The Republican National Committee’s executive panel voted Wednesday night to scale back its 2020 convention proceedings in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps as interestingly, it also voted to make no changes to its 2016 party platform ahead of the 2020 election.
The move is notable because it means the party won’t change its official positions on issues such as same-sex marriage and will allow them to stand through 2024.
But it’s also notable because some of the language in the platform decrying what the “current administration” and “the president” have done can just as easily be used against the current occupant of the White House.
To be clear, the 2016 platform is not being repackaged as a new 2020 platform. But many of the things for which it attacked President Barack Obama and his administration carry parallels with the controversies of the first three-plus years of President Trump’s administration. And for the foreseeable future, they will remain the GOP’s stated goals.
“The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations.”
“The current Administration’s refusal to work with Republicans took our national debt from $10 trillion to nearly $19 trillion today. Left unchecked, it will hit $30 trillion by 2026.”
Since Trump took office in 2017, the deficit has ballooned, with the latest Congressional Budget Office estimate projecting it at $3.7 trillion for 2020. That’s about 18 percent of the gross domestic product, which would be the highest number since World War II.
Even before the trillions of dollars spent to stimulate the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, the national debt had increased from $19 trillion to more than $23 trillion, keeping it on pace to be near that $30 trillion mark by 2026. Today, we just hit $26 trillion.
“The current Administration has exceeded its constitutional authority, brazenly and flagrantly violated the separation of powers, sought to divide America into groups and turn citizen against citizen.”
“Our most urgent task as a Party is to restore the American people’s faith in their government by electing a president who will enforce duly enacted laws, honor constitutional limits on executive authority, and return credibility to the Oval Office.”
Trump, in fact, issued more executive orders in the first three years of his presidency than Obama did in the same period, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. Perhaps most notably, Trump declared a national emergency to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, a move that even some congressional Republicans balked at.
Trump has also frequently resisted Congress’s oversight of his administration in extreme and unprecedented ways, and since Democrats retook the House in 2018, he has refused to turn over documents and provide administration officials to testify.
As for credibility, Trump has made more than 19,000 false or misleading claims as president.
“The next president must restore the public’s trust in law enforcement and civil order by first adhering to the rule of law himself.”
Trump has repeatedly claimed expansive executive powers and has claimed immunity from investigation and prosecution, as well as saying Congress’s impeachment of him was unconstitutional and thus could be ignored. He has regularly claimed the “total authority” to do most anything he wants as president.
“The current Administration has abandoned America’s friends and rewarded its enemies.”
Trump has frequently been criticized for feuding with U.S. allies in Europe and cozying up to adversaries such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. He was also accused of abandoning the United States’ Kurdish allies by withdrawing from Syria. The latter move in particular was a boon to one enemy — Russia — and also served the interests of an uneasy ally in Turkey.
“The president has inexplicably shown our adversaries the deference and esteem that should be reserved for our closest allies,” the late senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said at one point.
“The President has refused to defend or enforce laws he does not like, used executive orders to enact national policies in areas constitutionally reserved solely to Congress, made unconstitutional ‘recess’ appointments to Senate-confirmed positions, directed regulatory agencies to overstep their statutory authority, and failed to consult Congress regarding military action overseas.”
Trump has used “acting” officials — which are not technically recess appointments but allow him to install people without confirmation — to a historic extent.
As for consulting Congress on military action, Trump ordered a deadly airstrike against a top Iranian general without congressional approval and drew a bipartisan rebuke for it. After Congress passed a bill to rein in his powers, he vetoed it. He also declined to formally notify congressional leaders ahead of the strike on Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, and he sent troops to Kuwait without congressional approval.
“Pakistanis, Afghans, and Americans have a common interest in ridding the region of the Taliban and securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. That goal has been undermined by the current Administration’s feckless treatment of troop commitments and blatant disregard of advice from commanders on the ground, particularly with regard to Afghanistan.”
Trump has overridden the concerns of military leaders with his Syria and Afghanistan troop drawdowns — and Jim Mattis even resigned as defense secretary over the administration’s Syria policy.
“We further affirm that courts should interpret laws as written by Congress rather than allowing executive agencies to rewrite those laws to suit administration priorities.”
“The current President and his allies on Capitol Hill have used those agencies as a superlegislature, disregarding the separation of powers, to declare as law what they could not push through the Congress.”
Trump has bypassed Congress to forge an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, said he would ignore provisions in the coronavirus relief bill providing Congress with oversight powers and claimed the power to override provisions passed by Congress that he deems to be infringing on his executive authority. He has also threatened an unprecedented move to unilaterally adjourn Congress so he could install more of his nominees.
“The survival of the internet as we know it is at risk. Its gravest peril originates in the White House, the current occupant of which has launched a campaign, both at home and internationally, to subjugate it to agents of government.”
Trump has consistently feuded with social media companies and threatened them with government regulation, despite them being private companies. Most recently, he signed a legally dubious executive order that could punish them for how they moderate their content.
“We will meet the return of Russian belligerence with the same resolve that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will not accept any territorial change in Eastern Europe imposed by force, in Ukraine, Georgia, or elsewhere, and will use all appropriate constitutional measures to bring to justice the practitioners of aggression and assassination.”
Trump has declined to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the gruesome killing of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. He has also left open the possibility of recognizing Crimea as part of Russia after Russia’s forceful annexation of it in 2014, and he objected to Congress moving to prevent him from doing so.
“A Republican president will never embrace a Marxist dictator, in Venezuela or anywhere else.”
Trump has spent much of his presidency trying to forge a deal with North Korea’s Kim, even providing him an unprecedented photo op in the demilitarized zone and other things that critics say amount to propaganda wins for the North Korean leader. Trump has also spoken jokingly about falling “in love” with Kim.
Five states held primaries Tuesday; in Georgia, voters were met with long lines and technical issues despite months of warnings of potential problems. As states expand their capacity for absentee voting and President Trump attacks the process, a Post analysis shows a minuscule number of potentially fraudulent ballots in states with universal mail voting. See what elections are coming up and which have moved.
Recent polling shows Trump losing ground to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, triggering deep distress within the Republican Party about his judgment and instincts and fears about the November election. The party has tentatively settled on Jacksonville, Fla., as the new destination for convention festivities.
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