Accessibility links

Did Melania Trump Copy Michelle Obama's Words?

This is What’s Trending Today…

Melania Trump is the wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. On Monday night, she gave a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

It is a tradition for the partner of party nominees to speak at the convention. Her 14-minute speech earned loud cheers. She talked about her experience as a Slovenian immigrant in America, and praised her husband, calling him “intensely loyal.”

Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Monday night, “It was truly an honor to introduce my wife, Melania. Her speech and demeanor were absolutely incredible. Very proud!”

But, not long after Melania Trump’s speech ended, an unemployed journalist named Jarrett Hill noticed similarities between her speech and the one given by Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Her husband, Barack Obama, officially became the Democratic presidential nominee at that convention.

Hill wrote on Twitter: “Melania stole a whole graph from Michelle's speech”​

A one-minute part of Melania Trump’s speech included words and phrases that almost exactly mirrored Michelle Obama’s speech.

In 2008, Michelle Obama said:

“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.”

On Monday, Melania Trump said:

“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 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.”

People on social media quickly accused Melania Trump and the Trump campaign of plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s earlier speech. Plagiarism is the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person.

In the United States, plagiarism is a serious offense for writers, students and, yes, politicians. It can damage a political campaign.

In 1988, for example, current Vice President Joe Biden dropped out of the Democratic presidential race after he was accused of plagiarism in his speeches. Some of Biden’s speeches closely resembled the words of former British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock.

But, the Trump campaign said Tuesday the issues with Melania’s speech are being “totally blown out of proportion.”

The campaign’s chairman, Paul Manafort, told the Associated Press that “There were a few words on it, but they’re not unique words.” He also said of Melania’s speech “99 percent of the speech talked about her being an immigrant and love of country…”

It is likely that Melania Trump herself did not write most of the speech. Some political observers say that Trump’s speechwriter -- or speechwriters -- should be fired.

But, CNN reported Tuesday that the Trump campaign does not plan to fire anyone involved in the speech-writing process.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.


Words in This Story

presumptive - adj. based on probability ​

demeanor - n. a person's appearance and behavior : the way someone seems to be to other people

mirror - v. to be very similar to (something)

plagiarize - v. to use the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own words or ideas​

resemble - v. to look or be like (someone or something)

blow out of proportion expression. to make something seem more important or serious than it actually is

unique - adj. very special or unusual​

fire - v. to dismiss (someone) from a job

Your opinion

Show comments