Did Melania Trump just get Rickrolled?
The wife of Donald Trump stole the show on the first night of the Republican National Convention, delivering a well-received speech that both praised the GOP nominee and appeared to soften his controversial stances on Muslims and illegal immigration.
That storyline didn’t last very long. Just a few hours later, evidence emerged that Melania Trump’s speech lifted large portions of another speech delivered at the 2008 Democratic National Convention by Michelle Obama.
But now an apparent reference to a viral Rick Astley song — combined with a new denial of wrongdoing by the Trump camp — has many thinking that an insider may have intentionally sabotaged Melania Trump’s first moment on the big stage.
In the hours after the convention came to a close on Monday, many stories emerged comparing Melania’s speech to the one Michelle Obama delivered in 2008, with large passages seemingly copied word for word. Here is one small portion of the part in question.
Melania Trump‘s speech is as follows.
“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.”
Michelle Obama‘s, likewise, is as follows.
“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.”
That wasn’t the only strange bit about Melania Trump’s speech. In another portion, she appeared to copy the Rick Astley song, “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
“If you want someone to fight for your country, I assure you, he is your guy,” Melania said. “He will never give up. And most importantly, he will never let you down.”
For those who have never clicked their way to Rick Astley’s wonderful 1987 music video by accident and may not know the background, Astley’s song became a viral joke across the internet in 2007 and 2008. The phenomenon, known as Rickrolling, involved someone disguising a hyperlink that appeared to point somewhere else but actually directed the viewer to the “Never Gonna Give You Up” music video.
Even nearly a decade later, Rickrolling still lives on across the internet and it remains something of a sport to trick people into watching the music video or reading the lyrics.
That makes Melania’s speech line that much more bizarre, and led many media outlets to openly question — Did Melania Trump just get Rickrolled? To many, the Rick Astley lyric is seen as a wink to the audience from the speechwriter that Melania Trump’s speech was not actually written by her. If that’s true, it could mean that the plagiarized portion from Michelle Obama’s speech was done so intentionally to sabotage Melania.
For now, the idea that Melania was Rickrolled by a saboteur remains something of a conspiracy theory, but a new statement from Trump’s camp may lend some support to the idea. In an appearance on CNN‘s New Day, Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort vehemently denied that Melania intentionally copied Michelle Obama’s speech, saying the idea that she would do so in such a heavily scrutinized speech would be “absurd.”
“There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These were common words and values. She cares about her family,” Manafort said. “To think that she’d be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy.”
But many aren’t buying it, even within the Republican Party. The party’s national committee chair, Reince Priebus, said on CNN this morning that he would fire whoever was responsible for the speech.
To date, no one has been fired for the speech and there is no explanation of why Melania Trump was apparently Rickrolled.
[Photo by Mark J. Terrill/AP Images]