Melania Trump’s speech jolts the GOP
Melania Trump earned praise for her speech on Monday at the opening night of the Republican National Convention, but her remarks almost immediately came under scrutiny when striking similarities were discovered between her speech and one delivered by Michelle Obama at the Democratic convention in 2008.
The phrases in question came when Melania Trump — who told NBC News earlier Monday that she had written her speech herself — was discussing her upbringing in Slovenia and her parents. Here are the relevant passages: Melania Trump, Monday: “From a young age, 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 and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons onto the manygenerations 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.”
Michelle Obama, in her 2008 speech:
“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. Melania Trump: “I was born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then-communist country in Central Europe. My sister, Ines, who is an incredible woman and a friend, and I were raised by my wonderful parents. My elegant and hardworking mother, Amalija, introduced me to fashion and beauty. My father, Viktor, instilled in me a passion for business and travel. Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflects to this day on me and for my love of family and America.” Michelle Obama in 2008: “And I come here as a daughter — raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother’s love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.”
Jarrett Hill, a Twitter user whose biography describes him as an interior designer and journalist, apparently first noticed the resemblance between Melania Trump’s speech and Michelle Obama’s.
But Melania Trump said in an interview taped with NBC’s Matt Lauer before her speech that she went over it just once in advance. “I wrote it with as little help as possible,” she said.
Donald Trump’s campaign aides stayed quiet early Tuesday. Privately, one Trump aide said the campaign was going over the passages from the two speeches, while another blamed the news media and Democrats, suggesting they were fanning flames.
As the controversy broke out, Donald Trump posted on Twitter: “It was truly an honour to introduce my wife, Melania. Her speech and demeanour were absolutely incredible. Very proud!”
Hill, a television journalist who was recently laid off, said that one of Melania Trump’s lines — the words “strength of your dreams” — caught his attention as he was watching on his computer from a Starbucks.
The wives: Melania Trump, left, and Michelle Obama.