House Republican Michael McCaul of Texas trekked to the Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday and said Republicans will attempt to shift the focus from the presumed nominee Donald Trump during the convention and focus on national security.
McCaul is the Homeland Security Committee chairman. He told the CFR it is impractical to target a particular race or religion and advocated instead targeting potential threats overseas.
McCaul’s remarks reflect the national security strategy of Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan.
The House Speaker’s plan criticizes the Obama administration for its perceived foreign policy failures, including not enforcing a “red line” against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Obama’s red line was proposed after the US accused Syria of using chemical weapons.
In 2013, however, it was determined the jihadists attempting to overthrow al-Assad were in fact responsible for chemical attacks. It was also revealed at the time the BBC dubbed a video to make it appear a chemical attack occurred.
Ryan’s plan also calls for deploying US troops to defeat the Islamic State. “We cannot take options off the table, because doing so telegraphs weakness to our enemies and emboldens them,” he said.
In addition to calling for an expansion of the neocon agenda in the Middle East, Ryan has attempted to hijack the immigration issue and link it to national security.
The border issue is a cornerstone of the Donald Trump campaign.
“America must secure the border once and for all by accelerating the deployment of fencing, technology, air assets and personnel,” Ryan’s plan reads.
Instead of a building a border wall financed by Mexico, the Ryan plan calls for emphasis on reforming immigration. “We also must overhaul our immigration system for national security reasons.”
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi downplayed the Ryan strategy. She said the plan would be meaningless if Republicans “embrace the staggering recklessness of a GOP standard-bearer.”
A Coup Brewing to Remove Trump
While Ryan and establishment Republicans plot to shift the emphasis away from Trump during the convention, others are scheming a coup to have him removed entirely.
On Wednesday, Hugh Hewitt said on his nationally broadcast radio show Republicans “ought to change the nominee.” Hewitt said nominating Trump would be like “ignoring stage 4 cancer.”
“Everything’s got to be on the table,” Bob Vander Plaats, an Iowa-based conservative leader, told NBC News.
The anti-Trump movement is floating the idea of allowing the Republican National Committee’s 112-member rules committee to vote by a simple majority to allow delegates to unbind and vote for a candidate other than Trump.
In order for this to work, however, at least half of the delegates would have to oppose Trump on the first ballot.