Melania Trump speech accused of plagiarizing Michelle Obama
The speech given by Melania Trump, wife of presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, on the first night of the Republican National Convention is being accused of plagiarizing several lines spoken by Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
On Monday night, Melania Trump 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.”
Melania Trump’s words were an often exact echo of Obama’s own convention speech in 2008. “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,” Obama said at that time. “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.”
The similarities were first noticed on Twitter by journalist Jarrett Hill (a tweet of the passages from Obama’s speech has almost 18,000 retweets at this time). As the plagiarism claims gained steam online, Donald Trump’s campaign released a statement about Melania Trump’s speech — but did not reference the accusations.
“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,” Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications advisor, said in a statement. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
The campaign statement contradicts what Melania Trump said before the speech in an interview with NBC anchor Matt Lauer. “I read once over it and that’s all,” she said of the speech. “Because I wrote it, and with as little help as possible.”
On Twitter, Melania Trump was mocked with the hashtag #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes, which included noteworthy lines jokingly attributed to the potential future First Lady.
In addition, former Barack Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau commented on the speech, writing he was “more offended by just about every other speech than Melania’s plagiarized paragraphs.” He later added that Michelle Obama’s head speechwriter was Sarah Hurwitz, who used to write for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump’s presumed opponent in the presidential race. “So the Trump campaign plagiarized from a Hillary speechwriter,” he joked.
Beyond the campaign statement, Donald Trump praised his wife on Twitter for her speech, saying he was “very proud.”
See side-by-side video of the speeches below.