Full disclosure: I am not watching the Republican convention. In fact, I’m not watching anything remotely connected with it this week. Instead, I am catching up on episodes of Law & Order: SVU, Castle, and NCIS that I have missed over the years in order to avoid the shitshow going on in Cleveland because hypertension is a killer.
I am, however, following the news and this little tidbit got my attention because I’m a writer and the worst thing you can do is steal someone else’s words and try to pass them on as your own.
Via Esme Cribb at TPM:
In her prime time speech at the Republican National Convention Monday evening, Donald Trump’s wife Melania appeared to lift significant portions from a speech delivered by now-First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention where her husband Barack Obama was first nominated for President.
First noticed by Jarrett Hill, here is the relevant segment of Melania Trump’s remarks:
From a young age my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life. That your work 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 life. 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. I am fortunate for my heritage but also for where it brought me today.
And here’s an excerpt of Michelle Obama’s “One Nation” speech from 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.
Plagiarism is nothing new to the Trump empire. Whole sections of a speech Mr. Trump gave back in March were lifted nearly verbatim from a speech by Dr. Ben Carson, one of his vanquished opponents for the nomination. (He wasn’t good enough to be president but he was good enough to steal from, I guess.) In the case of Mrs. Trump’s handlers ripping off Michelle Obama, if they’re going to rip off an inspirational speech by a potential First Lady, they certainly chose good material.
None of this is a big surprise. The entire Trump campaign — and I’m not talking about just his run for the White House — has been nothing but bullshit and bamboozlement built on a foundation of deceit and lies (see below), so why would this speech or anything else presented by the Trumps be any different? It’s worked in the past, and they have every reason to believe it will work now.