RNC official: We won’t go full Trump on party platform

A top Republican National Committee (RNC) official sought to soothe business leaders worried about Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE’s influence on the party, saying at a private meeting on Tuesday that its presumptive presidential nominee would not dictate the party’s platform.

Ben Key, the RNC platform committee’s executive director, offered the assurance during a meeting at the organization’s headquarters on Capitol Hill, according to two sources in the room.


“Ben said that as the presumptive nominee, Trump would have some influence on the platform, but it wouldn’t be determinative,” said the first source who attended the meeting.

The source said several of those attending the meeting offered knowing smiles in response to the comment.

“And then he added … that the platform would not include some of the more controversial positions that Trump has taken,” the source said.

A second source who attended the meeting said Key did not single out any specific Trump policies that might not be in the platform, but he stressed the GOP can maintain distance from its presumptive nominee’s ideas when it crafts its platform at the Republican National Convention in July.

“[Key] said that just because it’s a potential nominee doesn’t mean those ideas are going to find their way into the platform,” the second source in the room said.

“He said the platform will be a decision that serves the whole party.”

The RNC declined an opportunity to deny or clarify Key’s private comments about how Trump would influence the platform.

“The platform will be crafted, voted on and approved by the delegates that have been elected by Republican grassroots voters and activists,” RNC national spokeswoman Lindsay Walters wrote in an email Tuesday, responding to The Hill’s questions and account of the meeting.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Corporate America has been unnerved by some of Trump’s positions during his primary campaign, particularly his promise to build a wall on the southern border that Mexico will pay for and his plan to deport 11 million illegal immigrants.

Trump’s call for a temporary ban on most Muslims entering the United States has also led to criticism. 

A source who attended the RNC meeting said many in the corporate world are also worried about Trump’s public vilification of companies.

The New York Times reported in March that Apple, Google and Wal-Mart were weighing whether to sponsor this year’s GOP convention if it is to revolve around the controversial Trump.

More than half a dozen corporations and trade associations were represented in Tuesday’s RNC meeting. They included General Motors, Microsoft, Akin Gump, Comcast and Associated Builders & Contractors.

Other concerns within the GOP’s corporate wing include Trump publicly calling for a boycott of Apple products after he deemed the company insufficiently supportive of the FBI, when investigators wanted Apple’s help breaking into the iPhone belonging to one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attack.

A number of the RNC’s corporate supporters are also dismayed about Trump’s demonization of trade deals, particularly the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Since his last rival dropped out of the Republican primary, Trump has sought to move toward the center in a bid to unify the party around him.

He has given himself some wiggle room on the Muslim ban, which he recently referred to as a “suggestion,” but he has consistently been more adamant about the wall on the border, which has been a central theme of his candidacy since its launch.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is publicly encouraging Trump’s moderation.

Asked recently on CBS’s “Face the Nation” about Trump’s reluctance to denounce white supremacists and his proposed ban on Muslim entries into the U.S., Priebus said Trump was shifting on those controversial positions.

“You have seen, actually, Donald Trump this week nuance a little bit on some of those positions that you have just outlined.”