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Trump White House Cribs Melania’s Social Media Guide from Obama FTC

When Melania Trump needs to say something good, she turns to the Obamas. In 2016 she plagiarized Michelle Obama to address the Republican National Convention. Now she plagiarizes the Obama Administration’s Federal Trade Commission to launch her long-delayed cyberbullying campaign (which, in a likely sign of committee bloat, has morphed into a campaign on social media use, opioid abuse, and general well-being):

A booklet put out by Mrs Trump bore a striking resemblance to one published under the Obama administration.

The text and graphics of the “Be Best” booklet were nearly identical to those in the previous edition.

…Mrs Trump’s online safety booklet was initially billed on the initiative’s website as being “by First Lady Melania Trump and the Federal Trade Commission”.

After similarities to the Obama-era edition were picked up online, the text was revised to describe it as a “Federal Trade Commission booklet, promoted by First Lady Melania Trump” [“Melania Trump Faces New Plagiarism Row over Cyber Safety Booklet,” BBC, 2018.05.08].

The Internet Archive captures the original authorship attribution posted by the White House:

Internet Archive, screen cap, 2018.05.08.
Internet Archive, screen cap, 2018.05.08.

I’ve saved the FTC 2014 guide and the Melania 2018 guide as they appeared online this morning so you can compare them for yourself. As you can see, the cover graphics are identical:

Obama FTC 2014 left, Melania Trump FTC 2018 right.
Obama FTC 2014 left, Melania Trump FTC 2018 right. (Click to embiggen!)

The opening graphics, text, and table of contents are identical, with the sole exception of a switch from gray to blue (a signal of a shift in White House support from the Confederacy to the Union?) that propagates through the rest of the booklet:

FTC 2014 left, Melania/FTC 2018 right.
FTC 2014 left, Melania/FTC 2018 right. (Click to embiggen!)

Subsequent pages show some minor editing but leave in place this number-agreement error on page 5:

Top: FTC 2014. Bottom: Melania/FTC 2018. Error: "kid's" is singular, "they" is plural. Fix: change "kid's" to plural possessive "kids'".
Top: FTC 2014. Bottom: Melania/FTC 2018. Error: “kid’s” is singular, “they” is plural. Fix: change “kid’s” to plural possessive “kids'”.

Melania’s scribes appear to have paid the most attention to rewording a couple of passages under the section most relevant to her husband’s constant misconduct, cyberbullying:

FTC 2014 left, Melania/FTC 2018 right.
FTC 2014 left, Melania/FTC 2018 right. (Click to embiggen!)

Melania’s designers also sleekened up some phone graphics from Android to iPhone profiles:

FTC 2014 left, Melania/FTC 2018 right.
FTC 2014 left, Melania/FTC 2018 right.

Page 20 swaps out warnings about peer-to-peer file-sharing in favor of advice to back up your files and secure your home network:

FTC 2014 left, Melania/FTC 2018 right. (Click to embiggen!)
FTC 2014 left, Melania/FTC 2018 right. (Click to embiggen!)

The only other major insertion is this introduction from Melania Trump, which only underscores the irony of an exhortation to be good online role models from the third wife of the Cyberbully-in-Chief:

Melania Trump, introduction to FTC 2018 booklet on social media use.
Melania Trump, introduction to FTC 2018 booklet on social media use.

If you have a young person in your life — whether you are a parent or guardian, teacher, police officer, coach, religious or scout leader, relative or friend — I ask you to join me and commit to promoting values such as encouragement, compassion, and respect, both online and offline.

…The internet — and technology in general — are powerful forces for good. I believe that, together, we can make a real difference in encouraging positive behavior online [attributed to Melania Trump, introduction, “Talking with Kids About Being Online,” Federal Trade Commission, May 2018].

Encouragement, compassion, and respect—those must be awkward words at the Trump dinner table.

The White House’s initial impulse to brand advice mostly cribbed from the Obama FTC as the First Lady’s own work shows the hollowness of its commitment to honesty, not to mention the well-being of our children and our nation. Even the few words we may fairly attribute to the First Lady about the need for good role models are daily mooted by the disrespectful, un-Presidential, bullying behavior of her husband.


  1. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-08

    Even before Melenia made her dramatic introduction of Be Best, it was being reported that she stole the material from the President Obama era Federal Trade Commission.
    No wonder Trump hates the media, they catch his and his wife’s lies almost before they utter them.

  2. Donald Pay 2018-05-08

    Net Cetera (with subtitle) vs. Talking With Kids About Being Online. Hat Ttp to Melania or whoever made the change in the title. Otherwise, it was a decent effort to save money by keeping what was great from the Obama administration. It would also be wise to keep the Iran agreement, too, rather than waste money on a new Republican war in the Middle East.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-05-08

    That’s an important and scary point, Roger. Trump depends on everyone trusting him exclusively. He knows he’s lying and marketing all the time and that his BS can’t withstand honest scrutiny, so he has to persuade his followers that they don’t have to listen to anyone else. He has to delegitimize anyone who would report the basic facts that prove that his White House is lying or erring.

  4. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-08

    What is also scary is this country is normalizing Trump’s lying. WaPo has documented 3001 lies told by Trump in the 15 months he has been president, there have also been 3001 jokes about his lying. That is sad.
    It is also scary that there is no accountability of Trump lies by his supporters, they happily spread Trump Fake News.

  5. mike fom iowa 2018-05-08

    Melanoma sure worked wonders fixing cyber bullies.

  6. mike fom iowa 2018-05-08

    Convicted felon, Ollie North, will be NRA’s next Prez. Sorry for the off topic.

  7. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-08

    Ollie is well qualified for his new role, after all he is a damn good gun salesman.

  8. Porter Lansing 2018-05-08

    The Trumps are often apart even during their free time, according to several people who know the couple’s schedules. At Mar-a-Lago on holidays and weekends, the president golfs or dines with politicians, business executives and media personalities on the patio, while Melania is often nowhere to be seen. According to several current and former aides, the president and first lady often do not eat together in the White House either.
    “They spend very little to no time together,” said one longtime friend of the president.
    For months, a persistent rumor has floated around Washington that Melania doesn’t really live in the White House and stays in a house with her parents and Barron near his suburban Washington school.
    “It’s an urban legend,” said Rickie Niceta Lloyd, the White House social secretary.
    Melania is exceedingly close to her parents and her son, Barron, who also speaks Slovenian with his grandparents. When she is out of the public eye, she is often with her family, friends say.
    PS … And I thought the Internet Archive was only good for finding those old Grateful Dead shows I love and kinda remember. Thanks for the 411, Cory. :O)

  9. David Newquist 2018-05-08

    Accounts over the years show that first ladies give varying degrees of personal attention to the programs that are conducted in their names. Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama were rather notorious for taking full command. Laura Bush let staff arrange some programs but maintained close control over her promotion of literacy as a professional librarian would. And some first ladies act as script readers for programs that are totally organized by staff.

    Melania appears to fall into the latter group. And somebody on the Trump staff must really be trying to do her ill. As a long-time plagiarizer detector, I found the speech she gave at the GOP one of the most astounding examples of plagiarism. In 30 years of witnessing freshman research papers, I found that only the most desperate and ignorant students would try to get by with a near-verbatim passage. The explanations for how her borrowing from Michelle Obama occurred were never cogent. Her speech writer was either someone struggling with literacy or someone evil.

    This last incident with the pamphlet is consistent with her husband’s staff in giving her credit for someone else’s work. It reflects his tactics, and the whole Be Best program has the ring of grifters. Melania is terribly served.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-08

    If Melenia is being “terribly served” it is difficult to have any empathy for her given the way she joined her husband speaking out about President Obama’s birth certificate hoax.
    Today Melenia is standing alone striking out at critics for pointing out her obvious theft.
    It has been 15 months since Melenia became first lady, it seems that she should of found her footing by now.

  11. David Newquist 2018-05-09


    I agree in that anyone who is used in a dishonest way can and should make public admission if they do not want to be considered part of the misdeeds. I have no doubt that Melania is bullied and manipulated, as is shown in many video clips of her with Trump. Ivana, the first wife, said she could not talk or give a speech. which may indicate a personality issue–Ivana’s bitchery aside. One of the few times she is shown with an unforced smile is while chatting with Obama at Barbara Bush’s funeral. I can’t stand being on the same planet with that pus bag, so I do wonder why she puts up with him.

  12. Adam 2018-05-09

    I watched the full ‘dramatic,’ broken english, absent-of-detail speech unveiling the ‘Be Best’ logo.

    It’s the best english I have ever heard that immigrant speak. I am proud of her; she must have practiced and rehearsed each and every word a billion times – hoping to prove to her critics that she can… truly… speak english.

    If I learn to say, “hello” and “goodbye” in a few different languages, can I call myself ‘multilingual’ too?

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-05-09

    Dishonesty matters. We cannot trust anyone in the current White House, on any matter. We can’t trust them to honestly attribute guidance on cyberbullying to the actual authors. We can’t trust them to keep America’s word and use evidence to justify foreign policy decisions.

  14. Rorschach 2018-05-09

    It’s not clear to me that she tried to pass off this booklet as content that she is responsible for creating. The claims of plagiarism to me seem overblown. Why can’t she rework an FTC pamphlet for her initiative?

  15. Jason 2018-05-09


    Dishonesty does matter.

    Did you post about Obama lying?

  16. Porter Lansing 2018-05-09

    A blog discussion on cyberbullying must include the previous poster. The awful bully without the courage to insult people to their face. Bullies MUST be confronted and dictated to. If allowed to insult, demean and misrepresent the decent people here, their neuroses simply multiply and manifest as evil.
    Once the bully is challenged to change and offered the opportunity to be a social good neighbor and the bully responds with more abhorrent behavior, the process is to shun them. It’s been done by groups since Biblical times. What the bully really craves is recognition. Without it they won’t even be here. By ignoring him/her their psychological rush of bullying is diminished to expose the chancre of self examination and the bully’s realization that they lack the ability to be part of a common crowd.

  17. Adam 2018-05-09

    Porter, Michael Avenatti recently said something very true, and possibly to the contrary of your point.

    In essence, “when a bully verbally threatens you, tripling down on your own strength, and position, by threatening them right back will confuse and throw off the bully from his strategy.”

    And, via my life time of testing, I believe the best way to outwardly, and proactively, disregard a bully’s authority is to verbally assault their brains – NOT brawn. It’s more like fighting fire with water, instead fighting it with more fire. Never claim you can kick a bully’s ass, only claim that he’s dumb as a box of rocks – strongly – right to his face – and then most of them just shut down like the pussies they truly are.

  18. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-09

    The only problem with insulting a bully by attacking their brain is that so often, especially on social media, is you just can’t insult them. I don’t know if social media bullies feel protected by their keyboard or if they are just thick.
    Case in point, the Dakota Free Press wannabe intellectual and bully, Jason.

  19. Adam 2018-05-09

    Shunning is no longer an option in this modern social media era as it simply leaves the bullies within the comfort of their echo chambers.

    We need to grow more comfortable reaching out to them, to critique their micro and macro behaviors like a stern parent would a crappy child (yes, crappy children do exist).

    When they do wrong, jump all over them enough to make them regret it.

  20. Adam 2018-05-09

    It’s important to note that standing up for ones self just once or twice isn’t enough, the smart guy has to continually, up front and indirectly, verbally assault the bully’s character and brains, even mock him to his face, or the bully’s behavior will likely never change.

  21. Adam 2018-05-09

    For instance, why would a guy ask for Obama comments on a blog post, and comment chain, that has absolutely nothing to do with Obama? Because he wants to change the topic of conversation into something he feels formidable in – because he can’t hang with non-stupid, non-Trumptarded people very well – or possibly even at all. Jason should stick to hanging with the pea brained scumbags he’s actually comfortable with – not people (such as DFP blog) who have significant cognitive capacity.

    He just doesn’t belong here, at all – waaay out of his element.

  22. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-09

    Jason’s performance in the comment section of DFP reveals his intellectual limitations.
    First he he’ll post a link to a discredited source and demand that we rebut it .
    New he’ll barrage you with questions about his own link and demand that you disprove him.
    And, of course, there are the numerous posts about how smarter he is then anybody else.
    And finally, if you read his comments, he really doesn’t make any comments or observations or express why he has arrived at some supportive conclusion.
    Often times you can tell that he has, in fact, not read Cory’s thread at all by the nature of his questions.
    Jason comes to DFP to disrupt, it as simple as that.

  23. Porter Lansing 2018-05-09

    Adam says, “He just doesn’t belong here, at all – waaay out of his element.”
    If we can, in our minds divide the public into who does and doesn’t belong here, I can agree.
    If we in practice, divide the public into who does and doesn’t belong here, I can’t agree.
    How many here have been banned from Pat Power’s blog for disagreeing with the majority?
    Besides, Cory sets advertising rates by how many people are interested in the Free Press and Jason is interesting. Frustrating, disruptive, waaaaay out of his element but interesting.
    For me, I’ll talk about him but I won’t talk to him. He’s been shunned.

  24. Adam 2018-05-09

    Porter, I TOTALLY agree.

    I wouldn’t want Jason banned either, because he displays a good number of the moral and cognitive shortcomings of the true idiots, and when a new reader compares his words to people like yours and Roger’s, anyone who’s sitting on a political fence (who also has a brain) should naturally reject his ignorant thoughts and words.

    Thanks for being awesome – you guys!

  25. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-09

    Back at you, Adam, you’re always the voice of reason.
    Jason is entertaining in the same way that FOX is entertainment.
    If Jason wants to come on DFP and make a complete ass of himself, so be it.

  26. Porter Lansing 2018-05-09

    So glad I didn’t offend you, Adam. Without being able to see a person’s face it’s easy to be misconstrued.
    Now … the Russian who calls himself Old Sarge is a different type of antagonist. (FYI … Jason is a female. She exposed herself last night when I got her nervous. Men under pressure don’t use the word “cute”.)
    Old Sarge has disappeared since he was nailed down about his background, yesterday. Maybe he has too much to lose to talk about himself and be labeled a bigger phony?
    Have you all noticed? There’s a boorish state Senator that absolutely can’t stop running his mouth about FoxNews talking points, which he wants us to believe he thought up on his own. (Not that he’s much different from those of us who enjoy expressing ourselves on the blog, frequently.) Where Is He??? The things this former Military Cop believes are exactly the same things that the Old Sarge believes. Why do we not here from the Senator, who’s trying to repair a severely damaged reputation but continually hear the same rhetoric from a stranger who appeared at exactly the time the Senator stopped posting?
    Is he Russian or is he an anonymous State Senator? One thing for sure … he’s full of bull sh*t.

  27. Porter Lansing 2018-05-09

    lol … I also thought maybe this Jason is really Miranda Gohn? Haven’t heard from her in a while. But, no. Miranda is more intelligent and less insulting. It IS a given that Jason and KM on the secondary blog are the same person. Same phraseology. Same temperament when pressured. Same twisted line of thinking. And … Jason/KM is really Lynn from Plankinton. Remember her during Cory’s first campaign? Hateful people like that don’t disappear. They just give themselves new identities to cover their self-loathing.
    but, Enough.

  28. Adam 2018-05-09

    Wow! Very interesting about Old Sarge AND Jasonette.

    Psychological profiling is an under rated science. “Cute” is truly an awkward word for a male to use while frustrated in any way.

    Writing style congruencies can, truly, shine light on who a troll is.

    Making a troll choose to leave on his/her own is victory, be it small, but banning them reflects defeat.

    Old Sarge really did suck.

  29. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-09

    I just sent you a Facebook message.
    Please respect the privacy of the matter.

  30. Porter Lansing 2018-05-09


  31. Porter Lansing 2018-05-09

    Adam … must have been all those Arthur Conan Doyle novels I read in elementary school. Bottom line – live and let live :0)

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