Nothing wrong with a little plagiarism as long as you don’t get caught. First Lady Wannabe Melania Trump needs a new speech writer–one who uses original words, not plucked from the speech of the current first lady.

Then again, Melania’s competition is Bill Clinton.  I have to admit, she is prettier than he is, just not as smart.

The Trumpers need to get this one behind them and fast.  Campaign manager Paul Manafort will have none of that, according to

Jarrett Hill appeared to be the first to notice that Melania Trump’s speech lifted significant portions from Michelle Obama’s speech, but Manafort blamed reports of plagiarism on Hillary Clinton.

“This is once again an example of when a women threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down. It’s not going to work,” he said on CNN.

It seems to me that the video comparison speaks for itself.  The Trump campaign has to own this one.  The denial is pathetic.


61 Thoughts to “Melania Trump: Just a little plagiarism?”

  1. Steve Thomas

    No worse than Obama’s plagiarism of a Derval Patrick speech. You don’t really believe these people write these speeches, do you?

    1. The difference is that Obama owned the issue immediately. Manafort is still pointing fingers at Malania. That’s too bad.

      Uh doh…No.

      1. Steve Thomas


        I guess. I’m not sure why this is such a big deal. She had barely finished her speech and the MSM was blasting the “gotcha” all over the waves, the webs, and by carrier pigeon.

        It’s like they were waiting, sharpening up their talons, ready to pounce with the shrill cry of the harpy. They had some NSA-inspired software analyzing each line, just looking for any similarity. Anything to make the former fashion-model look dirty.

        I’m thinking is this what we’ve come to? It’s one thing if a journalist, scholar, professional author, swipes someone else’s words, without attribution or worse, presenting them as their own. But these are people who have other people write their words, and place them on a teleprompter. We’ve got Jihadists running people down with trucks (Truck Violence), and domestic terrorists ambushing cops…and the biggest worry we have is some ex-model read words in a speech, written by someone else, lifted from another speech-writer?

        We’re so screwed. Better to play Candycrush and Pokimon Go! Than to actually consider just how tough things fixin’ to become.

      2. @Steve Thomas

        It’s a big deal because Trump and his minions refuse to own anything unsavory.

        If you watched the video, it was clearly lifted from Michelle Obama’s speech. Do I think Melania did it herself? Of course not. It’s just time to man up. Admit someone screwed up and move on.

      3. Scout

        @Steve Thomas

        Steve – it’s not like one has to choose between whether to be concerned about the attack in Nice, or the ambush in Baton Rouge or the lifting of phrases from Mrs. Obama’s speech and putting them in the mouth of Mrs. Trump. They are different things about which people can be concerned simultaneously for different reasons and to different degrees. No one took the position, either in the media or in private life (at least no one I talked to yesterday), that the plagiarism was a greater concern than a cop-killing by a maniac. So perhaps were are not “so screwed” as you suggest.

        The plagiarism is noteworthy not because of anything it says about Mrs. Trump. I suspect she was far more a victim than perpetrator in that. The story worth noting was how the campaign organization would have let her get in that position, and how it reacted after it became apparent. They definitely made things worse for themselves by blustery, contradictory, counter-factual denials, and they clearly showed internal vulnerabilities by the simple fact that this happened. Not encouraging at the beginning of the campaign. They could have made it more or less disappear by the end of the day if they had simply said, “Yes, we made a mistake. However, it was a mistake based on the very strong favorable impression that Mrs. Obama’s words made on the team as we prepared for Mrs. Trump’s presentation. We apologize to Mrs. Trump and to Mrs. Obama.”

      4. That would have settled it.

      5. Steve Thomas



        While I agree that the best response from the campaign should have been, “We screwed up, and were sorry”, I submit that the reason we are screwed, is because we, as a nation get so wrapped up in trivial matters. We don’t have the capability (nor the luxury) of focusing on “circuses”.

        Ask the average American what the significance of Scarborough Shoals is, and the closest response you will likely get is it’s some Simon and Garfunkel song. Check out Twitter and the hash-tag #NICE Attack, and tell me you don’t find a bunch of dunderheads up-in-arms thinking “NICE” was a compliment, rather than the name of a city in France.

        Yet the biggest focus of the night were “Melania Cribs Speech”. or “Pokimon Go!” taking nation by storm. Nothing about the fact that the only Muslim democracy/Member of NATO is dying, and this will only continue to social, economic and political instability in Europe. Nothing about the PRC rejecting the ruling of the Hague regarding several disputed islands in the South China Sea, and has vowed to continue building artificial islands, and the likelihood of war in that region greatly increased…nothing about the connection between the Baton Rouge cop-killer, and the Nation of Islam…

        Because that would require actual thought. Better to give the masses “panem et circenses”…that’s what they hunger for.

        We have real challenges facing us. Our next President, be it Hillary or Trump, will inherit a country at a crossroads. The real economy, still fragile under Obama, is already showing signs of weakening. Race relations, worst since 1968. Foreign relations? We haven’t seen global instability like this since the 1930’s.

        No, Scout, we cannot focus on these things simultaneously. We don’t focus on them at all. We’re too busy looking at the feud between Kanye and Taylor.

      6. Intellectual property is intellectual property. When we start disregarding points of integrity, we lose it all.

        The things you mentioned are not what most people can do anything about.

        What else is there to say about the convention? Ken Cuccinelli flung a fit? Maybe he had a right to. I am not a Republican. I don’t know.

      7. Actually, Steve, the things you mentioned might be a good focal point for the convention. We haven’t heard anything about what the candidate would do about some of the world’s woes. That might be the place to start, rather than the entire convention about jailing Hillary.

      8. Scout

        @Steve Thomas

        I can’t fault the news media for paying a fair amount of attention to the borrowed phrases that particular night, Steve. It would have been a bit incongruous in the convention coverage for them to have broken in with a Frontline-type document on the South China Sea. The event of the moment was the plagiarized speech material.

        However, you make a fair point that we are in an extremely complex world these days and that there are a lot of looming threats that do not get the attention that they should. I doubt if the American public is less informed now about the rest of the world than they were 50 years ago, but it does seem that the media structure we have makes it easier for politicians to eschew an educational, leadership function and rather just to fan the insecurities of voters. Some of us have been talking about that recently on another thread here at Moonhowlings.

      9. Steve Thomas



        Thank You for acknowledging my points. The reason I am so adamant about this is we as voters need this information to make the best choice in November. If we are ignorant of current and potential challenges, how can we pick the candidate to lead us. Heck, we can’t even watch the debates with anything approaching being well-Informed.

      10. Scout

        @Steve Thomas

        It is indeed a problem, Steve. And it’s a problem without a left/right identifier or solution. Ideology often stands in the way of people gaining knowledge – they think “I’m a conservative” or “I’m a liberal” and then assume they know what their positions should be on complex issues. While, as I said above, I doubt that the American electorate is any more ignorant than it was 50 or even 100 years ago, the world around us is quite a bit more complicated, and electronic media makes it easier for unprincipled politicians, pundits, or whomevers to manipulate the ignorance.

        Trump gave a devastatingly ill-informed interview to the NYT yesterday on critically important foreign policy issues affecting NATO and the Baltics. Like almost everything else he has said, its content, if he really believed it, is utterly disqualifying for any American office holder, let alone the President. But the story is submerged today in the food fight coverage of Cruz’s dis at the convention. I guess this fits your point about the plagiarism coverage.

      11. How many of those out there in TV land at the Trump convention know issues? From what I can tell, it’s one big sea of sound bites.

        I think it is fair to say that most voters vote on sound bites. I know someone who almost throws up when you say “Hillary.” However, this person cannot tell you one real thing, pro or con about her. This person also doesn’t register to vote. Can you say dumb ass?

      12. The candidates don’t seem to be particularly well informed either.

        Somewhere along the line, we have to acknowledge that what is critical to you might not be critical to me and vice versa.

      13. Dump Trump

        Steve Thomas wrote:

        I guess. I’m not sure why this is such a big deal. She had barely finished her speech and the MSM was blasting the “gotcha” all over the waves, the webs, and by carrier pigeon.

        It’s like they were waiting, sharpening up their talons, ready to pounce with the shrill cry of the harpy.They had some NSA-inspired software analyzing each line, just looking for any similarity. Anything to make the former fashion-model look dirty.

        It wouldn’t have been a big deal if Melania Trump had admitted she stole parts of it and apologized for and given Michelle Obama credit. That’s what someone with class would have done and the story would be over. But we are talking about the Trump campaign. They can’t admit even the most obvious thing that goes against them. And that’s why it’s a big deal. If this is how they handle a trivial ‘scandal’, how will they handle something big?

        One more point about the Trumpsters: Look at your own post for a minute. “NSA-inspired” software? Loosen up the tinfoil hat. Anti-plagiarism software has been used in high schools and colleges for nearly 20 years. Google “free anti-plagiarism software” and educate yourself.

        This new strain of Know-Nothingism that the Trumpsters are encouraging is very troublesome. Instead of learning more about the anti-plagiarism software and how obvious it is that Melania Trump plagiarized from Michelle Obama, the Trumpster response is to create a new, completely false narrative that somehow the NSA is involved. I can’t wait to see what crazy conspiracy the Trumnpsters have when The Donald loses badly. I just hope it doesn’t end in bloodshed.

  2. Dump Trump

    What’s funny is that the Trump Campaign is so insecure they wouldn’t even admit to using a speechwriter until it was obvious that she stole Michelle Obama’s speech. Then suddenly Melania didn’t write the speech herself, but they still didn’t plagiarize anything.

    But at least wanna-be First Lady Melania Trump can take comfort in the consoling wisdom of her husband on how women should handle bad publicity: “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” (Donald Trump, 1990)

    But just wait until The Donald gives his speech. It will be terrific. The best speech ever. 100% original written by Trump himself! (Just like The Art of the Deal was!)

    Here are some excerpts:

    “Mr. Nieto, Build Up That Wall!”

    “Ask not what your country can do for you, but where you can order some Trump Steaks. They are the best steaks in the world and you can get them on QVC!”

    “We choose to go to the Moon, not because it is easy, but because I’m building a hotel and golf resort there. It’ll be out of this world!”

  3. I HATE auto correct. I think I finally tricked it into letting me spell Mrs. Trump’s name correctly.

    @Dump Trump

    The “young and beautiful piece of ass” comment might be closer to the truth than we all want to admit. America isn’t quite as enlightened along those lines as we would like to think.

  4. When I heard all of the commentary over this, I thought that Mrs. Trump was nearly word for word with Mrs. Obama. After hearing the clips, they may have been similar, but they are not the same at all.

    1. Similar enough that if I had done that at Mary Washington I would have been expelled. A couple words were changed, that’s all.

    2. Scout

      @Joe George

      They were “not the same at all” except for the words and the sequence of the words. As Moon and some others of noted, that kind of “not the same at all” would get an undergraduate a date with an Honors Board.

      It takes a special kind of outlook to see that degree of similarity and pronounce it “not the same at all”. This seems to be the new political posture afflicting American public debate. Sheer factual denial. It troubles me that we seem to have gotten beyond an age when facts were stubborn things. Back then, we could have a good discussion about whether it mattered that the words were lifted, or whose problem that really was, or whether it was any negative reflection on Mrs. Trump (I don’t happen to think it is). Some of us are having that good discussion here. But we wouldn’t have looked at the same words in the same order and have someone say “they’re similar, but they are not the same at all”

  5. Kelly_3406

    MH is right–Melania’s speech would be considered plagiarism at any reputable university in the world.

    The plagiarism shows that the Trump campaign still has a lot of work to get its ducks in a row. It is really too bad, because it gave the media an excuse to cover something other than the speeches of Rudy Guliani and Pat Smith.

    Pat Smith in particular nailed Hillary to the wall for lying about the death of her son. Yet we heard very little about her powerful speech because the media chose to focus on plagiarism from someone who has probably not given very many speeches.

    1. Rachel Maddow covered Mrs. Smith’s speech the entire night.
      Regardless of what happened, Hillary didn’t cause her son’s death. The terrorists caused her son’s death.

      I think it was horrible to use that woman’s grief like that. It should not have been paraded like that. Oh the other hand, if she was lied to, then she has a right to be angry. I expect lots of people have been lied to about the death of their loved one when serving one’s country.

      I feel badly for Melania on a number of levels. I think the campaign failed her. Of course, she obviously didnt write the speech herself, as she said she did.

  6. Pat.Herve

    Rudy came across an an angry old white man.

    I feel bad for Melania – either she was set up, or she did not know better. The words were certainly plagiarized.

    1. Kelly_3406


      I too think that her speech may have been deliberately sabotaged.

      But for such an important speech, the campaign should have caught it.

      1. Absolutely they should have caught it. Except I think “they’ wrote it. Both kids gave excellent speeches.

        If you want some good commentary, you should listen to Rachel Maddow and McCain’s old campaign manager.

      2. Friend of the family had a hand in it. Some woman who was involved in some ghost writing on Trump’s books.

  7. Scout

    Interesting article in the current New Yorker about the ghost writer for “The Art of the Deal”. Also, in Sunday’s Business section of the Post, Allan Sloan has an article strictly on the business dealings of Trump and what they tell us about his qualities as a leader. Sloan has covered Trump for Forbes and other outlets going back into the 1980s. It was a well-written piece.

    1. Is there a pay window?

  8. El Guapo

    You have to have sympathy for political wives. They’re asked to stand by their man while he resigns or apologizes after he’s sent inappropriate pictures to another woman or been caught soliciting prostitutes. They’re asked to give a speech supporting their candidate husband and keep the family looking wholesome at campaign rallies. Otherwise sit down and shut up.

    This woman obviously did not covet the political spotlight and preferred to fly under the radar. When asked to give a speech at the convention she was humiliated in front of millions of people.

    1. Your point needs to include that the speech mishap was the product of the Trumpeter campaign. It should have been vetted by the political experts.

      Attempts to minimize what happened are falling flat. I feel sorry for Mrs. Trump. She was a fish out of water and those paid the big bucks to protect her failed her. Shame on them. They need to own it.
      @ El Guapo

  9. ed

    Melania is as much a bimbo as the Donald and they have fools and clowns as servants and advisers. She benefited from good looks and a fling with an older married man that allowed her to become wife #3. I don’t think she deserves much sympathy. She is the face of farce. Such delicious irony: she used the same words to describe herself as Ms. Obama to wild acclaim by Republicans just after they spent 8 years complaining bitterly about how awful the Obamas are as role models. This would not have happened if she had actually wrote the speech herself as she insisted she did. For all the accusations about Clinton’s supposed lies, here is an obvious lie that partisans are defending. Why should we believe when a candidate swimming in lies tells us that his opponent is a liar?

    1. Steve Thomas


      “She benefited from good looks and a fling with an older married man that allowed her to become wife #3.”

      You sure about that? Way I understand it is she met him long after he had split from Marla Maples.

      1. I think everyone can be single and still have a fling.

  10. Robin Hood

    The ghost writer has confessed, confirming that Trump’s people were lying. There are academic institutions that include condoning as an honor offense along with cheating and plagiarism. Maybe the author of Lyin’ Ted and Crooked Hillary should nickname himself Cheating Donald.

  11. Dump Trump

    Off topic on Melania Trump, but still about the GOP Circus this week:

    I never thought I’d say this but: Hooray for Ted Cruz! Sticking it to The Donald and showing the real face of the GOP. Today’s GOP, the place where the phrase “vote your conscience” is boo’ed.

    And for all the Trumpsters who will rush to defend their man, this is what happens when you publicly insult a man’s wife, call his father a murderer and then allow him to speech at the convention. Don’t blame Crux. Trumpy invited him to speak. Yet another example of kind of well thought decisions Trump makes.

    1. @DumpTrump-I can’t disagree. I can’t stand Ted Cruz but ….good for him. Smart people don’t get mad they get even.

      I would even go so far as to say I dislike Cruz more than Trump, but still good for that odious man for what he did.

      1. Robin Hood

        It’s a good thing to be fair to Cruz. Trump smeared his wife and his father then shrugged it off.


      2. I try to be fair. Even with people I don’t like. Trump seems to think he can treat people like dirt and then shrug it off. The Bushes come to mind.

    2. Kelly_3406

      @Dump Trump

      This was pretty good political strategy IMO. First of all, Trump invited a number of his previous opponents to speak WITH NO PRE-CONDITIONS.

      That certainly counters the view that he is an ego-maniacal control freak who is authoritarian.

      If his opponents endorse him, so much the better. If not, they look like small, selfish establishment politicians who do not keep their word. That could help with turnout.

      Cruz took the bait. His speech caused a huge reaction which will make everyone want to see how Trump reacts. As a result, there is likely to be a huge TV audience to see his speech — it will be a good opportunity for him to speak to an audience that would have tuned out otherwise.

    3. Scout

      @Dump Trump

      Cruz was acting opportunistically, trying to position himself to stand in the rubble if Trump fails. He was trying to give himself a Reagan 1976 moment. He chose his words to have just enough ambiguity that he could claim some degree of Republican loyalty, without tying himself to Trump. I personally don’t think there was much principle involved, just self-aggrandizement.

  12. Kelly_3406

    Here is something that should have been observed but no one has commented on. The ghost writer caused a lot of trouble for Trump this week, but he responded graciously. There was no public denunciation; there was no call for resignation; there was no anger. In fact, Trump supposedly refused to accept the person’s resignation, saying everyone makes mistakes.

    If true, this is indicative of a good leader with the temperament not to over react.

    We do not often get to see how candidates react under stress. We have heard about Hillary screaming at her staff and turning her back on Americans under fire in Libya. Yeah–the Trump campIgn should have avoided plagiarism but his treatment of the little people in the aftermath is …. refreshing.

    1. Censored bybvbl


      Which ghost writer? Meredith McIver who wrote for Melania Trump or Tony Schwartz (Trump’s writer for “The Art of the Deal”)? I don’t think Trump has been very gracious to Schwartz. I’d suggest a little research.

      1. Kelly_3406

        @Censored bybvbl

        I should have been more clear– Melania’s ghost writer is whom I am referring to.

        As for Schwartz, his public statements WERE extremely disloyal. He had no trouble making big bucks off Trump, but now feels “remorseful”. It is amazing how people get a conscience only after getting their money. I am not surprised that Trump went after him.

        I should take your advice to do research …. on Schwartz. He is probably a long-time partisan democrat that supports Hillary.

    2. I thought the ghost writer was a personal friend? How do you find personal friends?

      The emphasis is on hearing about Hillary screaming. Where is the documentation?

      1. Kelly_3406


        Documentation complete with page numbers is at this link:

        Here is my personal favorite:

        A recent book, “The Cintons’ War on Women”, by Roger Stone details Hillary’s abusive behavior.

        The sheer volume of these cases makes it hard to dismiss. Are all these incidents just a right-wing conspiracy to damage her politically?

      2. I just don’t consider the gateway pundit nor reliable documentation. Sorry. Seriously.

      3. Kelly_3406


        I am not asking you to believe the gateway pundit or — only to look at the references that they have compiled.

        They are certainly as believable MSNBC. Seriously.

      4. What part of msnbc are you saying makes up crap? Do you watch Morning Joe? How about listening to Rachel Maddow? MJ has a wide selection of guests and commentators from all ends of the political spectrum. There is often hearty exchange between guests. Rachel Maddow covers things fairly, even though she is liberal.

        I think you are listening to what someone else says about MSNBC rather than speaking from personal experience.

        FYI–according to factcheck, 80% of what Trump said last night was simply not true.

    3. Scout


      Trump has disqualified himself so many times in so many ways, Kelly, that cutting some ballerina/ghostwriter a little slack doesn’t sort that out.

      1. Why does a ghost writer have to be loyal? Good for him for telling the truth as he sees it.

      2. kelly_3406


        So has Hillary …. in ways that are much more agregious.

        In the speech in which Chris Christy presented the “case” against Hillary, even the NY Times could not find anything substantially wrong in what Christy said:

  13. Watching

    My understanding is that Meredith McIver is a longtime Trump staffer. Did she take the fall for someone else? We will never know. A verified twitter user noted that when he was writing a book about Trump and later Trump was being deposed, at one point he threw threw Meredith McIver under the bus and blamed her. See @timobrien on 7/21/16.

    1. Kelly_3406


      That is truly impressive opposition research.

      My view is that Trump did not throw anyone under the bus because it was a court deposition. Since he was likely under oath “to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” under penalty of perjury, he was severely constrained from protecting an employee.

      Speaking of truth, James Comey essentially called Hillary Clinton a liar during his news conference announcing that charges would not be filed. The thing that struck me was that Hillary was not placed under oath during her interview with the FBI. We all know that the Feds convict a lot of people for perjury and obstruction of justice for lying under oath. The failure to put her under oath essentially proves that the fix was in for the investigation of Hillary’s email server.

  14. Dump Trump

    “Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders!, Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!”

    -David Duke

    Indeed, David Duke couldn’t have said “it” better than the GOP candidate this fall.

    So this November you can either vote with David Duke or against him. Vote your Conscience!

  15. Scout

    Kelly – where do you get the idea that the FBI routinely puts people under oath during an interview? If a witness lies to federal law enforcement in an interview, they are vulnerable to criminal charges for false statements and obstruction. Who needs an oath? Where do you go to get one administered? If your evidence that “the fix was in” in the Hillary situation is that the FBI didn’t put her under oath in an interview, then the “fix is in” on virtually every FBI investigation. A little hard to believe, don’t you think, even for those of strong conspiratorial predilections (and I think we can include you in that cohort)?

    You might want to take that theory back to the drawing board.

    Comey did Trump a huge favor (although that was not his purpose, I’m sure) in not recommending prosecution of Hillary. She is the only candidate that Trump can have a chance of beating (Ironically Trump is the only R candidate that Hillary has a chance of beating – marvelous symmetry there). If Hillary had been indicted, Trump would be toast.

    1. Kelly_3406


      A big pot of crow is on the menu for me. I thought there was something that had to be done to make a statement to the FBI “official”.

      That does not change the fact that Comey’s announcement of no charges against Clinton was made only two days after her interview. I am sure you agree that was not enough time to cross-compare her testimony against other evidence for consistency and false statements.

  16. Scout

    They had a pretty big, experienced team on this. They were cross-checking as they went through her interview. They knew what they were looking for.

    As for your impression about the oath, I can understand where you might have been led astray. I did a quick look on-line and found a ****load of websites making the same point you did that the failure to administer an oath was the lock-cinch clincher that the “fix was in”. If one doesn’t read widely, but only reads things that tend to repeat what one wants to think, one can very easily, these days, live in a very comfortable counter-factual world. That’s why it’s important to have a site like this, where we can talk to each other politely and sometimes punch through our misimpressions. I have been straightened out myself from time to time and I’m glad of it.

    Let’s just keep talking.

    1. Kelly is not going to be happy until all his political enemies are incarcerated.

      1. Kelly_3406


        Just the ones who break laws that would result in prosecution for anyone else.

    2. Kelly_3406

      Scout wrote:
      They had a pretty big, experienced team on this.They were cross-checking as they went through her interview.

      Documentation, please?

      1. Scout


        The size and depth of the team has been widely reported, Kelly. You can look it up. As for the procedures the FBI commonly uses, I’ve been a lawyer advising clients in a few investigations run by the Department of Justice. My practice is not primarily criminal law, but I’ve had about a half dozen of these situations and I have partners who do this day in and day out.

        Usually there’s a key witness (sometimes more than one). They generally save those for the very end. By then they have all the documents, have talked to all the subsidiary witnesses, and have laid all their snares for the main witnesses. They essentially have a checklist that they work through.

        In the Clinton matter, when her interview was scheduled, it was clear they were very near the end of the process, not the beginning. They were checking her story against everything they had already learned from documents and previous witnesses.

        By the way, in these situations, lawyers always caution their clients to be meticulous about telling the absolute truth, even though they are not under oath. It is all too common that the underlying offense isn’t that horrible, or there’s ambiguity in the underlying events, but, if a witness says anything that gives off the odor of evasion or deceit, then we have a new problem – false statements or obstruction. As I recall, that’s what got Martha Stewart in trouble, at least in part. That’s why I don’t think it very significant that Mrs. Clinton was not under oath.

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