Did Melania Trump’s Twitter response to the Charlottesville violence copy previous statements by former First Lady Michelle Obama?
On Saturday, as violent clashes took place between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, the current First Lady tweeted the following response.
Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 12, 2017
Almost immediately, Twitter users began accusing the First Lady of plagiarizing her predecessor, former First Lady Michelle Obama. Specifically, users accused Mrs. Trump of copying form a speech Mrs. Obama had supposedly given on April 16, 2016. During that supposed speech, according to a popular Twitter meme, Mrs. Obama is alleged to have said the following:
“Our nation encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate without hate in our hearts. No good comes of that.”
If it were true, that could be construed as a damning indictment of the current First Lady’s integrity.
However, as it turns out, Michelle Obama probably never said the words Melania is accused of stealing.
As Snopes reports, Mrs. Obama is not known to have given any speeches, anywhere, on April 16, 2016. That means that the speech in which she supposedly said the words that Melania supposedly copied never happened.
— Nicole (@MzDivah67) August 13, 2017
Further, Snopes researchers failed to find any example of Michelle Obama ever saying those words, anywhere.
At this point, for the sake of accuracy and thoroughness, it bears noting that it’s entirely possible that Mrs. Obama did say those words, or similar words, at some point in her career, and they just haven’t been dug up yet. But she almost certainly didn’t say them, or anything noteworthy at all, on April 16, 2016, as suggested by the Twitter meme.
Like Fake News, the accusatory Twitter meme is believable (to some readers, anyway) because it is based on a grain of truth. Although she most likely didn’t plagiarize Michelle Obama in her Charlottesville tweet, Mrs. Trump has been accused of plagiarizing Michelle Obama before. And in the earlier case, the speech that Melania is alleged to have copied actually did happen.
Back in July 2016, in her opening remarks to the Republican National Convention, Mrs. Trump gave a speech that, in some cases, appeared have borrowed a previous speech by Michelle Obama almost word-for-word.
Melania Trump, July 2016: “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, 2008: “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.”
Earlier accusations of plagiarism aside, however, in the case of Melania Trump’s tweet in response to the Charlottesville violence, she almost certainly did not copy Michelle Obama.
[Featured Image by Justin Merriman/Getty Images]