THE LAST-MINUTE DECISION to include in the Republican platform a call to restore the firewall between commercial and investment banking comes as a surprise, because Donald Trump himself has never publicly addressed or endorsed such a reform in his year-long presidential run.
Trump did once say at a debate in New Hampshire, “nobody knows banking better than I do,” but a review of the transcripts of all 12 Republican debates shows that he never endorsed restoring Glass-Steagall, legislation first passed in 1933. Websites devoted to detailing Trump’s positions find no record of him having any opinion on the Depression-era law. The issues pages of Trump’s presidential website steer clear of anything related to banks or finance.
In fact, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who first leaked word that the platform would endorse the reintroduction of Glass-Steagall, ran a campaign consulting firm in the 1980s that helped elect to Congress Phil Gramm, co-author of Glass-Steagall’s repeal. (Gramm supported Ted Cruz in the GOP primaries.)
The measure is haphazardly attached to the end of a paragraph decrying regulatory overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency, National Labor Relations Board, Federal Communications Commission, and more. Tacking on a call to restore a law that prevents private corporations from particular lines of business suggests that there wasn’t much thought put into it before Monday.
To the extent that Trump has expressed anything about financial reform, it’s been a desire to roll it back. He told The Hill last October that the Dodd-Frank law is “terrible” and “the regulators are running the banks.” Dodd-Frank’s repeal is also in the Republican platform.