Melania Trump’s speech last night was a moment of great importance for the Trump campaign. It was a chance to help show the loving and caring side of Donald Trump, as a relatable family man. However her speech was vastly overshadowed by allegations of plagiarism.
Melania gave a fantastic speech about her life and family
Parts of the speech seem to be plagiarized from Michelle Obama
Who is to blame? It doesn’t matter, it is stealing.
A true leader would take responsibility
Anyone who has had to write a paper or a speech knows how hard it can be. Even writing a speech to be given to a group of 20 people can be difficult and intimidating. Now imagine the pressure if that speech has to be given in front of 20,000+ people, is televised and sent to millions of people live, and to top it off, it is in your second language. This was the stage for Melania Trump as she went forward to talk about her husband running for President.
Melania Trump is the third wife of Donald Trump, and they were married in 2005. Melania was a Slovenian immigrant to the United States, becoming a permanent resident in 2001, and a citizen in 2006. She has a background in fashion and modeling, and has been featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
Her speech was truly exceptional, and at over 17 minutes, the accomplishment of giving such a fantastic speech is huge and should be applauded. She spoke so eloquently about her family and her past.
However, this amazing speech was quickly overshadowed by quick claims of plagiarism. Numerous people have noticed word for word similarities between Melania’s speech last night and a speech from Michelle Obama given in 2008. Take a look for yourself:
I spliced Michelle and Melania together. Judge for yourself. pic.twitter.com/8hCZeoXH4q
— Andy Baio (@waxpancake) July 19, 2016
- “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.”
Michelle Obama Speech in 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.”
The comparison says it all. The conversation has now become a polarizing issue, as Trump defenders claim that it was a mistake by her speech-writing team, or that the words are common values. But when you look at the speech, the wording is completely identical, and it could have been different. it is extremely unlikely that this similarity is by accident. There are a few possibilities:
- It was deliberate: Melania stole from Michelle Obama (very unlikely, as she probably did not write much, if any, of the speech)
- It was the writers: A writer for her stole the words from Michelle. Since Melania did not have a lot of time to review the speech, she didn’t catch it. In 2008, Melania was not a politician, so who knows if she even saw that speech, and would have been able to recognize the words.
- It was unintentional: Perhaps a writer remembered the words in their own head, and had no idea that they came directly from Michelle Obama. A speechwriter has seen thousands of speeches, and maybe they just got mixed up and made a mistake.
Melania’s team released a statement via twitter saying:
Statement on Melania Trump Speech pic.twitter.com/80KgS0jxXz
— MELANIA TRUMP (@MELANIATRUMP) July 19, 2016
In the end, it does not matter whether it was intentional or not. Plagiarism is plagiarism. This sort of action is never tolerated, and if she was in a University, she would have been expelled. Plagiarism should never be tolerated, as it is direct theft of a person’s intellectual property.
The Trump campaign has denied the allegations, saying “To think that she would do something like that knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd.” This was said earlier by Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort.
Donald Trump, uncharacteristically, has not responded via twitter yet, as he looks into what to do. Immediately after the speech, Trump tweeted:
It was truly an honor to introduce my wife, Melania. Her speech and demeanor were absolutely incredible. Very proud! #GOPConvention
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2016
Most likely he will blame the speechwriter, and fire them. But a leader needs to take responsibility for the actions of their staff. A leader must go forward and acknowledge it as their fault, rather than look for someone to blame. A leader is who should be president, but time will tell if Donald Trump is a leader or not.