Updated: July 20, 2016 3:38:06 am
In a major embarrassment to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his campaign, his wife Melania Trump was on Tuesday accused of plagiarism in her first address to the Republican National Convention that is set to declare Trump as the party’s presidential candidate. Critics said parts of her speech were lifted verbatim from remarks First Lady Michelle Obama made in 2008.
In her address, Melania said, “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.”
That small section of Melania Trump’s 15-minute speech was similar to part of Michelle Obama’s convention speech in 2008, in support of her husband Barack Obama.
As word spread fast about the plagiarism row, here’s how Twitterati reacted to the entire controversy:
— Keri Douglas (@keridouglas) July 19, 2016
— Randy Jones (@jonesgirlsdad) July 19, 2016
— Sherrod Small (@Sherrod_Small) July 19, 2016
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) July 19, 2016
The Likelihood That Melania Trump Accidentally Copied Michelle Obama Is “Less Than 1 in a Trillion” https://t.co/bSFUIbrDWo
— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) July 19, 2016
Can’t believe the idiots who think public figures write their own speeches. Seriously, people? #MelaniaTrump
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DenaldJTrumpJr) July 19, 2016
Holy shit. They’re nearly identical. Someone is seriously fired. https://t.co/SIXpite8A9
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 19, 2016
— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) July 19, 2016
After her speech, Donald Trump praised his wife on Twitter, “Her speech and demeanor were absolutely incredible.” That only lead to more trouble.
— Isabell Tolling :D (@IsabellTolling) July 19, 2016
Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was fired from the campaign last month, has said the staff responsible for crafting Melania Trump’s speech should be held accountable, according to the Chicago Tribune. In an interview to the Chicago Tribune, Lewandowski said “if the staff did not do their job properly, and didn’t vet the speech properly based on the larger picture and narrative that she put together, then there should be accountability. No question”.
“”Well, this is certainly weird,” read a post from Vox.com. The story goes on to say how the copying bit is just too extensive to be called a mere coincidence.
The similarities in both Melania’s and Michelle’s speech was in fact first pointed out by Jaret Hill on Twitter.
— Jarrett Hill (@JarrettHill) July 19, 2016
But this video put out on Twitter better explains how the two speeches overlap.
So that’s pretty blatant, right? pic.twitter.com/EPnHME7afV
— Mike Hearn (@mikehearn) July 19, 2016
Politicians such as New jersey Governor Chris Christie defended the speech saying there’s no way Melania was plagiarising Michelle Obama’s speech. In an interview to CNN, Christie said, “I just don’t see it.”
Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort vehemently denied plagiarism allegations, while he blamed Hillary Clinton for the backlash. In a statement to CNN, Manafort said this is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, she seeks out to demean her and take her down.
Responding to these counter allegations, Clinton campaign’s communication director Jennifer Palmieri said statements about Clinton’s involvement in the plagiarism row are untrue.
The White House, in the meantime, declined to comment on the matter.
While all of this was happening, Trump campaign’s initial reaction to the controversy conveniently chose to ignore how this might have happened. Instead, the statement put out by Senior Communications Adviser Jason Miller stated that Melania worked with a “team of writers ” who took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking.
The Trump campaign just put out a statement on Melania’s speech pic.twitter.com/JvJZKpQsjB
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) July 19, 2016
The entire controversy spread like wildfire on social media with the hashtag #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes trending on Twitter. While some mocked Melania for plagiarism, others came out to defend her.
“I, am Malcolm X.” #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes
— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) July 19, 2016
My Name Is Oliver Queen. – #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) July 19, 2016
“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes
— Jessimae Peluso (@JessimaePeluso) July 19, 2016
— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) July 19, 2016
“Ask not vaht country do for YOU, but vaht YOU do for rich husband — but get the jewelry UPFRONT, girls!” #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) July 19, 2016
On her immigration to US
— Jason Winston George (@JasonWGeorge) July 19, 2016
But if latest reports on CNN are to be believed, then Donald Trump’s campaign is perhaps not going to fire anyone or take disciplinary action against anyone for the Melania plagiarism row. Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manfort told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that the accusations are really absurd.
(with inputs from agencies)
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