Different members of the Trump campaign offered different takes on whether Melania Trump’s speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention lifted parts of Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
At issue? Melania’s speech:
“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.”
“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.”
Jason Miller, a senior communications advisor for the Trump campaign, issued a statement today noting that “fragments” reflected shared thinking.
“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” Miller said. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort told CNN this morning that “to think that she would do something like that knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd.”
“There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These were common words and values. She cares about her family,” Manafort continued. “To think that she’d be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy.”
Trump surrogate Chris Christie was asked about the speech on the Today show and argued that it was only 7 percent lifted.
“No,” Christie said. “Not when 93 percent of the speech is completely different from Michelle Obama’s speech.”
“They express some common thoughts,” he added.
At a Bloomberg breakfast this morning, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said he’d “probably” fire the speechwriting team that crafted Melania’s speech. “Certainly I don’t blame her for anything,” he said.
Priebus added that the speech controversy “gets you off message a bit this morning but I think we’ll get back to action this afternoon.”
“I don’t think it’s going to last; it’s just a topic for this morning,” the chairman said.
Before her address, Melania Trump told NBC News of the speech: “I read once over it and that’s all, because I wrote it, and with as little help as possible.”