Did Melania Trump plagiarize Michelle Obama speech during RNC 2016?
Published 7:05 am Tuesday, July 19, 2016
CLEVELAND (AP) — Melania Trump’s well-received speech Monday to the Republican National Convention contained two passages that match nearly word-for-word the speech that first lady Michelle Obama delivered in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention.
The passages in question focus on lessons that Mrs. Trump, the wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, said she learned from her parents and the relevance of their lessons in her experience as a mother. They came near the beginning of her roughly 10-minute speech, which was otherwise distinct from the address that Mrs. Obama gave when her husband, then-Sen. Barack Obama, was being nominated for president.
In Mrs. Trump’s speech in Cleveland, she 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 life.”
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In Mrs. Obama’s 2008 speech in Denver, she said: “And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like, you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that 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.”
Another passage with notable similarities that follows two sentences later in Mrs. Trump’s speech addresses her attempts to instill those values in her son.
“We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow,” Mrs. Trump said. “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.”
In the first lady’s 2008 speech, she said, “Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them onto 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 hard for them.”
Trump’s campaign responded in a statement that said her “immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech.” The statement didn’t mention Mrs. Obama.
“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,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said.
White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Monday evening.
In an interview with NBC News taped ahead of her convention appearance and posted online early Tuesday, Mrs. Trump said of her speech, “I wrote it.” She added that she had “a little help.”
Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.