Not long after the platform subcommittee meeting, the Post’s “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine” story was published, and a new conventional wisdom began to form: The Trump team, doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin, gutted the GOP platform’s position on behalf of Russia.
That is precisely the opposite of what happened. In the end, the platform, already fairly strong on the Russia-Ukraine issue, was strengthened, not weakened, as a result of the subcommittee meeting. The Trump campaign agreed to a platform condemning Kremlin belligerence, calling for continued, and perhaps increased, sanctions against Russia, for the full restoration of Ukrainian territory, for refusing to accept “any territorial change in Eastern Europe imposed by force, in Ukraine or elsewhere,” and pledging to aid Ukraine’s armed forces.
The bottom line is that almost nothing in the Trump-weakened-the-GOP-platform narrative is as it seems. Whatever the full story of Trump and Russia in the 2016 campaign turns out to be, it will only be revealed by examining what actually happened, not by repeating talking points.