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Republican Platform: Build Border Wall, Outlaw Gay Marriage

By Chris Hannas, VOA

The Republican Party has crafted a new platform that both shows the direct influence of its 2016 presidential candidate, Donald Trump, as well as the traditionally conservative values upon which the party is built.

Republican Platform 2016

The document runs about 60 pages and will stand for the next four years as a statement of what the party believes.

Its foreign policy planks include pieces that directly oppose key policies of President Barack Obama.

The platform criticizes the agreement the United States and five other world powers reached with Iran last year to limit that country’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. It also opposes Obama’s approach to battling Islamic State militants and the easing of relations with Cuba.

Obama set a goal of settling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. this year, which many Republicans labeled as a threat to national security. Despite assurances from the administration that the vetting process for refugees is extensive - lasting for up to two years - those fears persist.

The opposition is spelled out in the platform, which says any refugee who cannot be carefully vettedcannot be admitted to the country, especially those whose homelands have been the breeding grounds for terrorism.”

Border wall, Israel and China

Concerns about security extend to the U.S. border with Mexico, where a platform statement supports Trump’s proposal to build a wall.

“The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic,” it says, without comment on Trump’s plan for Mexico to pay for the wall.

“We will build the wall and make America safe again!" Trump tweeted after the language was added.

He also celebrated changes to a section about Israel that recognizes Jerusalem as its “eternal and indivisible” capital and rejects the “false notion that Israel is an occupier.”

Trump called the platform the “most pro-Israel of all time.” He also announced the creation of an advisory committee to analyze U.S. policy toward Israel and look at alternative ways to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

The platform shows resistance to the long-held desire of Palestinians to have East Jerusalem as their capital under a two-state solution, as well as complaints about Israeli activities in the West Bank.

Republicans put in place stronger opposition to China’s activities in the South China Sea and called for crackdowns against countries that violate trade laws. The platform says free trade policies have hurt U.S. manufacturers, and it no longer has language supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership championed by Obama.

"We cannot allow China to continue its currency manipulation, exclusion of U.S. products from government purchases, and subsidization of Chinese companies to thwart American imports,” the platform says.

Social issues

On national defense issues, the committee in charge of drafting the platform rejected an attempt to include support for allowing women to serve in combat roles in the military. The platform also opposes requiring women to register for the draft.

Social issues also include a call for overturning the Supreme Court’s decision ruling gay marriage to be legal, and a statement that “natural marriage” between a man and a woman is best for children. Republicans also want to promote state laws putting limits on which bathrooms transgender people can use.

Republican analyst Paris Dennard said the platform reflects “the disdain that Republican Party members have for some of the more liberal things that have been pushed on the country for the past eight years.”

Mainstays in the platform include opposition to abortion rights and arejection of efforts to limit the rights to gun ownership.

Trump gave overall praise of the platform, calling many of its elements “amazing” in an interview with Fox News. But he did note that it does not perfectly align with his policies.

“I think what’s happening with the platform is very good,” he said. “Do I agree with everything? Nobody ever has.”

Elizabeth Chernoff contributed to this story.

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