Melania Trump’s RNC Speech Is Awfully Similar To Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC Speech
The Republican National Convention continues to deliver. It’s been alleged that parts of Melania Trump’s convention speech were plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s speech delivered at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, which dealt with the usual topics of hard work, values, integrity, and, of course, America. Thanks to digital media, side-by-side video of the speeches is already online for the public. It’s not an exact word-for-word copy, but the similarities are too great to be a coincidence. The section of Trump’s speech in question certainly wouldn’t get past basic college plagiarism software.
Naturally, the counterclaims from Team Trump came fast and contradictory. In an interview with Matt Lauer, Trump said she’d written the speech herself, yet the campaign communications team issued a statement mentioning how “Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations.” Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, called the accusations “crazy” and pulled the old women-beware-women card, saying: “When a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, she seeks out to demean her and take her down.” He further explained, “What [Melania] did is use words that are common words.” We all use words that are common (as Manafort would put it) every day, and manage for the most part not to plagiarize each other by accident.
Here’s the section of Melania’s speech that attracted the most accusations of plagiarism:
“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 me to show the values and morals in my daily life. That is the 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.”
For comparison, here’s the corresponding section from Obama’s 2008 speech:
“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.”
Kind of sounds like the text on a motivational Pinterest image, doesn’t it? All it needs is a sunset and a silhouette of a slim woman doing yoga.
While I’m not going to give the Trump campaign the benefit of the doubt, it is true that presidential campaign speeches use a lot of the same words: “values,” “morals,” “dreams,” “work,” “achieve,” etc. Maybe Trump’s team can treat this as a wake-up call and start putting more originality into their speeches — or at least be more sneaky about plagiarizing.