Melania Trump had a triumphal moment at last night’s Republican convention … until people noticed it reminded them of someone else’s triumphal moment a little too closely. Key passages of the speech delivered by Donald Trump’s wife appear perilously close to those delivered almost exactly eight years earlier by Barack Obama’s wife Michelle at his nominating convention. Ironically, these passages praised the value of hard work:
Melania Trump delivered a rare speech Monday on the first night of the Republican National Convention about her husband Donald Trump, which shared an almost identical section to first lady Michelle Obama’s Democratic convention speech in 2008.
The presumptive Republican nominee’s wife discussed the hard work instilled by her parents, treating people with respect, and wanting a better future for children — which were all apparently things she took from Michelle Obama’s address.
How close were the two speeches? This close, as Buzzfeed’s Michelle Broder van Dyke compared the two:
Melania Trump said in her speech Monday:
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. 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.Michelle Obama’s convention speech in 2008 hit on many of the same themes:
And 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.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.
Yair Rosenberg tweeted out a mashup that makes the similarities even more obvious:
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
Or perhaps this makes it even clearer:
So that's pretty blatant, right? pic.twitter.com/EPnHME7afV
— Mike Hearn (@mikehearn) July 19, 2016
Uh … yeah, it certainly looks that way. Melania told Matt Lauer that she had written most of the speech on her own, but that seems unlikely. The Trump campaign will call this a media-created story, but that mashup will be veeeeerrrrrry difficult to explain. Expect to see someone fired off the team soon, and an effort to direct attention to the other Trumps who will be speaking over the next few days. (And expect them to recheck their speeches to ensure that their writers haven’t borrowed from someone else before they take the stage, too.)
It’s a shame, too, because Melania did a very good job of delivering the speech. It was well received on the delegate floor, and drew favorable reviews in the media until people started connecting dots to the 2008 speech. After Rudy Giuliani’s fiery speech, Melania hit the right emotional note for an effective close, Unfortunately, the evening didn’t stop there, but continued through several more speeches as the hall emptied out, leaving some very poor optics in the last thirty to forty minutes. Perhaps organizers will need to rearrange the next few evenings to avoid a repeat … of which we have had enough already.