Meredith McIver became something of a household name on Wednesday when the obscure Donald Trump staffer took the blame for Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech, but there’s one problem — Meredith McIver may not actually exist at all.
The strange story surrounding Melania’s speech may have taken an even more bizarre turn on Wednesday evening when a number of media outlets began questioning whether McIver was actually a living, breathing person or just one of the many aliases that Trump has been known to use in the past when deflecting blame off himself.
The controversy surrounding Melania’s speech had overshadowed the rest of the Republican National Convention to date, casting a shadow over an already troubled campaign. Her speech, which praised Trump’s leadership while also extolling the values of hard work and honesty, had two long passages lifted almost word-for-word from the speech that Michelle Obama delivered at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
After spending more than a day denying that Melania had copied Obama’s speech — and even attempting to shift the blame to Hillary Clinton for trying to bring negative attention to Trump (Clinton has not commented publicly on Melania’s speech) — the Trump campaign finally took responsibility on Wednesday, pinning the plagiarized portion on an unseen staffer named Meredith McIver.
“This was my mistake and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant,” McIver said in a statement released by the Trump Organization. “Mr. Trump told me people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from experiences.”
Donald Trump did not accept McIver’s resignation, reports added.
NEW: Melania staffer falls on sword, says campaign rejected her resignation pic.twitter.com/6ZgfX2cEXQ— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) July 20, 2016
But within hours of the statement being released, there were growing questions across the internet as to whether Meredith McIver actually existed.
“Serious question: has any news outlet seen or interviewed Meredith McIver?” AM Joy host Joy Reid wrote (via The Wrap). “Asking because of the GOP candidate’s history of using aliases.”
One of those aliases was John Miller, who was known to speak to the press on behalf of Donald Trump in the 1980s, often making braggadocios comments about his popularity with women. But Miller was never actually seen by the public, and it was later revealed that Miller was likely Trump himself.
Others noted that no one by the name Meredith McIver appeared on the payroll for Trump’s campaign.
While it was largely Twitter driving the theory that Meredith McIver may be an invention of Donald Trump, the story actually gained some traction among respected media outlets as well. The U.K.’s Independent took note of all the clues that McIver could be fake.
“At the time of writing, no credible news outlet has tracked down Meredith McIver.
“Mr. Trump, normally so keen to show off his ‘beautiful ladies’, has kept this ghost writer hauntingly silent.
“There is growing speculation that the name is simply an alias, a fictional name for the Trump campaign to hide behind as Republicans and Democrats alike are furious that the potential First Lady has fluffed her first major appearance.”
Their report also went on to suggest that McIver, like Miller before her, may simply be an alias being used by Donald Trump to put off the growing questions about his wife’s speech.
It’s not clear if there is any substance to the rumor that McIver doesn’t exist. She had been listed as a co-author of four books written by Trump, including Trump: Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life.
To date, the Donald Trump campaign has not commented on the rumors that Meredith McIver may be a made-up person.
[Photo by Evan Vucci/AP Images]