The speechwriter who helped Melania Trump draft her Republican National Convention speech said the passages similar to Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech arose out of Trump’s admiration for the current first lady.
The New York Times reported that speechwriters Matthew Scully and John McConnell turned in a draft to Trump last month, but only a few lines from their draft were used in what was eventually delivered.
Melania reportedly sought rewriting help from a former ballet dancer and English major described by the campaign as an “in-house staff writer from the Trump Organization” who had worked on some of her husband’s books.
In a “to whom it may concern” statement today on Trump Organization letterhead, Meredith McIver also described herself as “a longtime friend and admirer of the Trump family.”
“In working with Melania Trump on her recent First Lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people,” McIver wrote. “A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama.”
“Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant.”
McIver said she offered her resignation to the Trumps on Tuesday “but they rejected it.”
“Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences,” she said, adding that she asked to release the fall-on-the-sword statement “because I did not like seeing the way this was distracting from Mr. Trump’s historic campaign for president and Melania’s beautiful message and presentation.”
“I apologize for the confusion and hysteria my mistake has caused.”
Coinciding with the release of McIver’s statement, Donald Trump tweeted: “Good news is Melania’s speech got more publicity than any in the history of politics especially if you believe that all press is good press!”
Trump convention manager Paul Manafort, who originally said there was “no cribbing” from Obama’s speech, said at a news conference Tuesday that “these are themes that are personal to her, but they’re personal to a lot of people depending on the stories of their lives.”
“Obviously, Michelle Obama feels very, very much similar sentiments towards her family,” Manafort said.