When Donald Trump’s wife Melania addressed the RNC Monday night in Cleveland, some observers pointed out the alleged resemblance between parts of her speech and one delivered by Michelle Obama at the Democratic convention in 2008.
Three fragments of the different speeches were remarkably alike. Ms. Trump noted that, “from a young age, my parents impressed the values upon me that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect.” In 2008, Ms. Obama told the crowd, “Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values. You work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that you do what you say you’re gonna 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.”
Later in the speech, as Ms. Trump worked towards a message of inspiration, her language again seemed to parallel Ms. Obama’s. “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,” Ms. Trump declared. In 2008, Ms. Obama said, “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.”
One other instance of overlap between the two speeches was also identified.
Melania Trump plagiarized Michelle Obama tonight, and here’s the video to prove it: pic.twitter.com/gCDeJL04zY
— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) July 19, 2016
Jason Miller, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, released a statement celebrating Ms. Trump’s speech – and obliquely addressing accusations of the plagiarism – according to The New York Times. “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,” he said. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it a success.” The campaign did not identify the “team of writers” who composed the address.
Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, pushed back against accusations of rhetorical theft on CNN Tuesday morning. “To think that she would do something like that, knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night, is just really absurd,” he told Chris Cuomo.
“There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech,” Manafort continued. “These were common words and values. She cares about her family. To think that she’d be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy.”
Donald Trump lauded his wife’s speech on Twitter. “Her speech and demeanor were absolutely incredible,” he wrote. “Very proud!”
It was truly an honor to introduce my wife, Melania. Her speech and demeanor were absolutely incredible. Very proud! #GOPConvention
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2016