Conservatives See Upcoming Floor Battle Over Platform At Convention

(REUTERS/Eric Thayer)

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore]’s proclamation that he plans to continue to fight for conservative principles going forward is not just lofty rhetoric from a politician who just withdrew from a presidential campaign.

Cruz allies intend to make sure the Republican National Committee’s platform or rules do not change on account of any Donald Trump’s whims.

Although Cruz suspended his campaign on May 3 after his Indiana primary loss, pro-Cruz delegates launched an effort, reported The New York Times, to take control of key posts on the Rules and Platform Committees.

An email sent to Cruz delegates from former Cruz campaign counsel and delegate organizer Ken Cuccinelli read:

“To do that, it is imperative that we fill the Rules and Platform Committees with strong conservative voices like yours,” Cuccinelli wrote. He added, “That means you need to come to the national convention and support others in coming, too!”

Cuccinelli went onto say, “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.

“We want to have girls go in girls’ bathrooms,” noting Trump, the Party’s presumptive nominee Donald Trump differed with conservatives on the issue.

Cuccinelli is reportedly expected to speak to his delegates on a conference call Monday night, when he and other former Cruz aides will  “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 2012 rules that Cuccinelli cites are the changes that were made the to the RNC rules by the Mitt Romney campaign which made it harder for other candidates to be nominated without the majority support of eight delegations. The previous threshold was five.

Trump campaign convention strategist Paul Manafort brushed off such plans by Cuccinelli and others telling the Times, “If there wasn’t interest and activity around the platform that would be a surprise.”

House Speaker [crscore]Paul Ryan[/crscore], among other GOP members, is expected to meet with Trump Thursday. Both he and Trump differ greatly in areas of trade and immigration as well as campaign style and tone.

Social conservatives also worry that Trump’s team may attempt to alter the platform in the area of abortion, in an effort to add “exceptions” when Republicans would support an abortion.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, however, said that Trump has no intention to change the GOP platform.

Ryan, who will serve as chairman of the RNC Convention, told reporters Wednesday the policy differences between the GOP and Trump will be part of the “conversations we are going to have.”

“I’ve only met him once in person in 2012. We had a very good conversation in March on the phone and we just need to get to know each other and we are enjoying the fact that we het to meet each other,” he said. “I’d rather have a conversation in person than through the media.”

RNC Spokesman Sean Spicer told The Daily Caller recently the convention platform committee delegates will draft the party platform and release it to all the delegates for a vote of approval at the beginning of the convention before votes are cast for the nominee, when committee reports are read.

Differences with the platform are generally ironed out, Spicer confirmed, between presumptive nominee and party before the nomination.

“There’s a staff of the platform committee of the chairman. Over the course of the next month or so, they will seek input of various groups and industries. The staff will brief the members of the committees of the input they received,” Spicer explained.

Spicer went on to say, “They will draft the platform, and the nominee’s team will also be in dialogue with the committee members to express their sort of preferences or ideas for certain aspects of the platform. Then the platform committee will draft a platform and make a recommendation to all of the delegates.”

Trump’s team will likely have conversations with various delegates at the convention as to what they would like to see on the platform, but the RNC does not get into the middle of that particular conversation, Spicer confirmed.

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