CLEVELAND, Ohio - On day two of meetings to draft Republican policy ahead of the Republican National Convention held here next week, the GOP's platform became more conservative as the committee rejected proposals to include LGBT protections while strengthening language on Israel and trade.
LGBT issues were the most contentious part of the platform committee discussions Tuesday as a handful of advocates proposed amendments that would include specific protections and inclusions of gay and transgender people. All such efforts failed in the conservative committee that said it didn't want to play "identity politics."
In one proposal, offered by Giovanni Cicioni of Rhode Island, language would be added to a section condemning the violence of ISIS. Cicioni suggested that "LGBT individuals in particular have been a target of violence and oppression."
The committee erupted in a prolonged debate over the proposal, with Rachel Hoff, a delegate of Washington, D.C., who announced that she is the first openly gay member of the platform committee Monday, saying she hopes the committee defends her "right to at least not be killed."
The proposal was ultimately easily defeated. But that wasn't the LGBT advocates' last stand. They also proposed that the LGBT community should be pointedly added to the description condemning the attacks at an Orlando nightclub last month where 49 people at a gay club were killed.
Opposing delegates, increasingly frustrated with the pro-LGBT efforts, responded forcefully. One delegate said the committee is no place for "personal agendas" and the platform is for "what's best in the interest of all the United States."
The efforts were led by Republican donor Paul Singer, a New York hedge fund manager, who is not a Republican delegate but financed an operation to try and alter language on LGBT issues in the Republican Party.
The committee is creating a draft platform to be approved by the full slate of delegates on the floor of the Republican convention next week.
D.C.'s Hoff also proposed an amendment that would scrape existing platform language that says women are exempted from combat roles in the military.
Tamara Scott, a delegate from Iowa, said the exemption of women is included to protect the "safety" of women and combat troops. The proposal failed.
Also on Tuesday, a debate emerged between national security hawks and the more libertarian-minded isolationists during a debate over foreign policy.
Delegate Eric Brakey of Maine, also a state senator, offered repeated amendments that would have condemned ongoing U.S. involvement in wars in the Middle East. He also opposed efforts to condemn the shrinking military budget. The hawks won in every instance.
Trade was barely discussed, with the only change to the draft platform is the addition of words "U.S. sovereignty" added as a consideration when accepting trade deals. It's a reaffirmation of an "America first" position on trade advocated by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and added to the platform in earlier drafts.
A subcommittee on the economy on Monday removed language in the platform pushing for the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Colorado delegate Justin Everett said it wasn't necessarily a concession to Trump but anger that the Obama administration passed the trade deal before it was released to the public.
The committee rejected an effort to get rid of the Transportation Security Administration and to declare that the U.S. is at war.
The session ended with a passionate speech by a pro-Israel activist Cicioni praising the committee for its support of Israel who opposes the two-state solution. The delegate praised the Trump campaign for working with him on his amendment, which passed the subcommittee Monday. It describes Israel as "undivided," a position was taken out in the 2012 platform, and one that goes even further than the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC.