♣ Melania Trump was stalwart, poised and eloquent in the deliverance of her speech honoring husband, now presidential nominee Donald Trump, at the Republican National Convention on July 18th. That was opening day of the RNC. Since then, however, it’s grown apparent that parts of Melania’s speech were taken pretty much verbatim from a speech Michelle Obama gave to honor her own husband Barack Obama eight years ago at the DNC. Before her speech Melania Trump told Matt Lauer of NBC “I wrote it. And with as little help as possible.”
Whether it’s true Melania cribbed parts of the First Lady’s speech herself or accepted the help of a falsehearted accessory before the fact, some friend or professional speechwriter perhaps, doesn’t matter much. Effectively the result was just the same. The wife of Donald Trump presented someone else’s words as her own at a major political do for all the world to see. Melania Trump is no professional speechwriter of course. In all fairness then, the amateur must be granted a little grace despite what amounts to a wrongful indiscretion nonetheless, a possible amateur miscalculation or maybe a poor beginner’s oversight, one made on Melania’s part or the part of a likewise inept aid. Remember, however, she did declare “I wrote it. And with as little help as possible.”
Whatever the case, in making the speech Melania was playing a key role at a key event that was selling not only herself but a man who was nothing short of the newly chosen Republican Party nominee for president of the United States. More, she was playing the role before hundreds of millions. She was no callow middle school teen tinnily whining out her spruced-up book report for a twelfth grade Lit class. Jeese, where were Donald Trump’s manager and staff in regard to a major speech at a major event with the presidency at stake? Where was Donald Trump himself, spoiler, ringmaster, the man who would be king? What subterranean form of gross neglect could have preceded such an unthinkably inauspicious blunder?
At the least, Mrs. Trump’s clear appropriation of passages from the famed speech of another only begs more questions and caution about the Donald Trump campaign, its meager staff and Trump himself, a man whose personal qualifications and character stand in very serious question already. Was usage of Michelle’s words in Melania’s speech an act of attribution born of simple admiration, Melania’s personal admiration or maybe that of a certain aid or aids assisting, admiration for the First Lady’s own special prowess as a speechmaker or, perish the thought, was it out-and-out plagiarism?
Why was Melania’s speech never vetted? Wasn’t miming parts of Michelle Obama’s speech, whether in neophytic innocence or deference to a mentor, sure to render all sentiment in Melania’s own speech inauthentic, make Melania Trump herself appear shamefully disingenuous? Melania’s speech was already conspicuously devoid of personal references, details and anecdotes after all .
At the same time, It’s hard to imagine a seasoned professional tied to something as public as a political convention being daft enough to purposely pirate a well-known document. In that light it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that gross ineptitude lay at the heart of the matter. When grouped with many another faux pas by the Trump campaign, a voter can only ask if such casual incompetence is indicative of the wholesale whimsy, alacrity and devil-may-care ease with which an elected Trump is bound to run the country, destined to lead the free world.
Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort flatly denied that Melania’s often word-for-word copy of Michelle Obama’s speech was intentional. More, he termed accusations of Trump campaign plagiarism “crazy” Tuesday morning on CNN, then in a flagrant bid to shift negative attention to his rival, blamed the accusations on what he framed a skittish Hillary Clinton. This is downright Orwellian.
With a ruse like this, Paul Manafort flies in the face of salient truth. He claims for all the world that things are not what they most clearly are. Who would guess the intellectually lax and incurious Donald Trump, with help from a manager thick enough to rate voters blind and stupid, would ever be first to usher in the Orwellian Age? Eliza Collins pointed out in USA Today that there was no sign Clinton was connected to the speech or its loud repercussions for that matter. Woah! Big surprise!
Paul Manafort even dared claim similarities between Melania Trump’s speech and that of Michelle Obama were strictly coincidental, that Melania or her speechwriters selected common words to describe common values and thus some unavoidable similarities. Sorry Paul but all of those same words arranged in far too often the same sequence sentence after sentence can be no mere coincidence, even to us down here in the busy, half-lit halls of the rank and file. You can shelf your “Stupid Meter.” It’s poorly aimed and warrants calibration.
In more denial, Jason Miller, Trump’s communications advisor, threw up a thin, malodorous smoke screen. In a statement, Miller proposed that since Melania’s team of writers did draw from their notes on her “life’s inspirations” and sometimes even infused bits of “her own thinking,” the speech did originate entirely with her.
Miller then dared hint, waxing most sentimentally, that because, as he put it, “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success” her fellow Americans would be cold and callous indeed to acknowledge the least impropriety from this fine, exemplary figure, though that impropriety glared out belittlingly at them all. In other words, working from a jingoistic fervor, Miller boldly spun the patriotic elements of Melania Trump’s speech in hopes of overshadowing any wrongdoing.
It seemed Tuesday morning that despite its crucial bearing on the event, we might never know precisely what Melania Trump meant when she apprised Matt Lauer: “I wrote it. And with as little help as possible.” Wednesday, however, a staff-writer for Donald Trump who ghostwrote many Trump books as well quite contritely took blame for the indiscretion saying she worked with Melania Trump on her First Lady speech and wrote lines from Michelle Obama’s speech read her over the phone by Mrs. Trump as choice examples.
One Merideth McIver said she used some of the phrasing in what became Melania Trump’s final speech, then neglected to check that phrasing against Mrs. Obama’s speech, this presumably for conceptual and wording similarities. McIver claims she gave her resignation to Trump but the candidate wouldn’t have it.
Just before release of Ms. McIver’s statement, Donald Trump tweeted the message “all press is good press!” Was the event known later as the Melania speech scandal only a ploy arranged by Trump and friends for use as negative press, in other words, good press. If so, then exactly how much of Trump’s bad behavior during the past year’s campaigning was gauged to serve the same purpose?
Some two days passed before the Trump campaign conceded certain passages in Melania Trump’s speech mimed lines in Michelle Obama’s of 2008. Downright oozing insincerity, Trump manager Paul Manafort was still denying obvious similarities in a CNN interview Wednesday morning. Crooked Hillary indeed!
–♦©M. D. Phillips–awincingglare.com