Donald Trump staffer admits plagiarism mistake in Melania Trump speech
Meredith McIver, a staff writer for Donald Trump and his presidential campaign, has admitted to taking a portion of Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic National Convention speech and using it in Melania Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention on Monday night.
Said McIver in a statement released to Donald Trump's website, "In working with Melania Trump on her recent First Lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people. A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama. Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama's speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama's speeches. That was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant."
McIver added that she offered her resignation to the Trump campaign in the wake of the plagiarism controversy, but they declined. "Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences," she wrote. "I asked to put out this statement because I did not like seeing the way this was distracting from Mr. Trump's historic campaign for president and Melania's beautiful message and presentation."
The statement concluded with an apology for "the confusion and hysteria my mistake has caused" and McIver's praise for the Trump family. "Today, more than ever, I am honored to work for such a great family. I personally admire the way Mr. Trump had handled this situation and I am grateful for his understanding."
After it was revealed Melania Trump's speech included exact words and phrases said by Michelle Obama in 2008, members of the Trump campaign denied any plagiarism took place — and blamed Trump's presumed opponent for president, Hillary Clinton, for making the story bigger than warranted. "There's a political tint to this whole issue. Certainly we've noted the Clinton camp was the first to get it out there in trying to say there was something untoward about the speech Melania Trump gave," Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chair, said in a statement on Tuesday. "It's just another example, as far as we're concerned, that when Hillary Clinton is threatened by a female, the first thing she does is try to destroy the person."
Manafort also said in a separate interview with CNN, "There's no cribbing of Michelle Obama's speech. These were common words and values. She cares about her family. To think that she'd be cribbing Michelle Obama's words is crazy."
McIver's statement comes after Trump himself commented on the speech. "Good news is Melania's speech got more publicity than any in the history of politics especially if you believe that all press is good press!" he wrote on Twitter. "The media is spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania's speech than the FBI spent on Hillary's emails."
Read McIver's full statement at Trump's website.