If you heard Melania Trump’s speech on the opening day of the Republican National Convention and thought it sounded familiar, you weren’t imagining things. According to plagiarism experts, there is no doubt whatsoever that portions of the speech delivered by the woman who would be First Lady were lifted verbatim from Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
Plagiarism analysis experts at Turnitin say that the chances of two humans coincidentally composing the same exact 16-word phrase is one in 1 trillion. One segment of Melania’s Monday night speech contained a 23-word sequence of identical words. Turnitin VP of marketing Chris Harrick explained to The Hill that scientific algorithms prove without a doubt that 6 percent of the speech delivered by GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s wife was copied verbatim from Michelle Obama’s 2008 address at the DNC.
The day after Melania’s controversial speech, the Trump campaign started scrambling to provide denials of plagiarism along with conflicting commentary to explain the apparent theft of Michelle Obama’s inspirational oratory. Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, adamantly announced to reporters that there was no way Mrs. Trump would do anything as “crazy” as stealing a speech. According to NPR, Manafort blames accusations of plagiarism on Hillary Clinton.
“It’s just another example as far as we’re concerned that when Hillary Clinton is threatened by a female, the first thing she does is try to destroy the person.”
Earlier today, Trump campaign employee Meredith McIver apologized for the apparent theft, calling the incident “an innocent mistake.” According to the New York Times, McIver offered to resign from the campaign, but her offer was refused. In a one-page statement published on Trump’s official website, she offered an explanation for her dishonesty.
“Over the phone, she (Melania Trump) read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant.”
Ms. McIver continued,
“I asked to put out the statement because I did not like seeing the way this was distracting from Mr. Trump’s historic campaign for president and Melania’s beautiful message and presentation. I apologize for the confusion and hysteria my mistake has caused. Today, more than ever, I am honored to work for such a great family.”
About an hour before the release of Meredith McIver’s public statement, Donald Trump chimed in. He derided the media, whom he accused of bias against his Slovenian-born spouse, says the New York Times.
“Good news is Melania’s speech got more publicity than any in the history of politics, especially if you believe that all press is good press! The media is spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania’s speech than the F.B.I. spent on Hillary’s emails.”
Speaking on behalf of the Trump campaign, spokesperson Katrina Pierson adamantly insisted that Melania’s speech at the RNC was in no way a direct copy of another speech, and that any similarity was due to the fact that Mrs. Trump wanted to express values held by Elizabeth Dole and Laura Bush and wished to convey said values to Americans “in phrases they’ve heard before.”
The suspicious similarities between the speech delivered by Mrs. Trump and the First Lady’s inspiring 2008 oration were first publicly noted in a July 18 tweet by independent journalist Jarret Hill.
Later that same day, Hill updated his Twitter status to tell the world that Melania Trump stole more of Michelle Obama’s speech than he’d originally indicated.
This week’s plagiarism incident is not the first to involve a member of the Trump family. Last month, the New York Times revealed that educational materials touted by Trump University as being chock full of Trump’s “personal wisdom” actually contained passages lifted verbatim from a real estate manual published by Success magazine in 1995.
CNN notes that the Trump campaign intends to “move on without further addressing questions about the speech.”
[Photo by Richard Drew/AP Images]