No stolen convention, but stolen words!
One would think that a billionaire Republican running for President could afford to buy his wife a team of speech writers who could give her something original to say. Instead, Team Trump so lazily mishmashed meaningless platitudes for Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention script that they failed to catch themselves plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech:
Here is Trump, on 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,” Trump said.
And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations 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.”
And here is Obama, on August 25, 2008:
“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.
And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and to 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” [Gregory Krieg and Eugene Scott, “Campaign Denies Melania Trump’s Speech Plagiarizes Parts of Michelle Obama’s,” CNN.com, 2016.07.19].
The plagiarism here is obvious in word choice and structure. CNN puts the two passages side by side for our viewing:
To control the damage, the Trump campaign has shifted from Mrs. Trump’s earlier statements that she wrote her own speech “with as little help as possible” to saying she had been “working with a speechwriter for the last five to six weeks, honing” her teleprompter-dependent speech to ascribing the speech to a “team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” which statement The Verge says sounds like “a tacit admission that portions of the speech originated elsewhere.” Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has denied the plagiarism charged, but he also has denied having any role in preparing the speech.
We should not be surprised: Donald Trump doesn’t write his own material, either.
But why let that dampen the fun? Mrs. Trump’s husband is a creature of television, which survives on recycling of old formulas. Her plagiarism sets the stage for her husband to plagiarize Richard Nixon in his acceptance speech Thursday.