Speeches from presumptive First Ladies will seem similar. A lot of talk about family, what a good husband and father the candidate is, working hard and of course the children. But Melania Trump’s speech last night bore a bit too much similarity to Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, with entire passages lifted almost word for word from the the current First Lady’s speech. The transcripts below are from The New York Times.
Melania Trump last night:
“From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Michelle Obama, in her 2008 DNC speech:
“Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Note the very similar formats to the beginning of the following paragraph without lifting precise words. Melania Trump just plugged in her own information to the exact same sentiment used by Michelle Obama. The last sentence is particularly telling with the somewhat unusual words of “integrity,” “compassion,” “intelligence” and “reflects” all appearing in the exact same order.
Melania Trump, last night:
“I was born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then-Communist country in Central Europe. My sister, Ines, who is an incredible woman and a friend, and I were raised by my wonderful parents. My elegant and hard-working mother, Amalija, introduced me to fashion and beauty. My father, Viktor, instilled in me a passion for business and travel. Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflects to this day on me and for my love of family and America.”
Michelle Obama, from the same speech in 2008:
“And I come here as a daughter — raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother’s love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.”
While many similar sentiments will be espoused in any First Lady speech, some of the exact wording is very suspect, and there is no doubt in my mind that Melania cribbed these passages from the current First Lady’s speech. She almost certainly watched the speeches of presumptive First Ladies for the last few conventions, and it seems very unlikely that she would not have seen Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech in preparing for her speech last night.
Melania Trump said to Matt Lauer before the Convention that “I wrote it with as little help as possible,” leaving out the possibility that some poor intern or assistant can be thrown under the bus.
The Trump campaign is trying to blow these allegations off, with Paul Manafort saying “We’re comfortable that the words that she used at personal to her.”
Chris Christie went further saying “I just don’t see it. If we’re talking about 7% of a speech, that was really, universally considered to be a good performance by Melania. I know her. There’s no way that Melania Trump was plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech.”
“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” was the statement released by Trump senior advisor Jason Miller. That statement does allow that Melania “included fragments” of another person’s work without attributing them. That is the definition of plagiarism.
Plagiarism is one thing, but plagiarizing an OBAMA at the Republican National Convention? She’s lucky she made it out of there alive.
In other weird news about this speech, it appears that Melania Trump was Rick Rolled by someone that may have helped her write the speech, according to the NY Post.
“He will never give up, and most importantly, he will never, ever let you down,” she told the gathered Repubs. She did not address whether Donald Trump was likely to run around or desert you, however.