And it all seemed to be going so well for the GOP, at least by 2016’s Trump-ian standards. A mini-rebellion quashed. A (duck) dynasty declared. And then this happened:
CORRECTION: Melania stole a whole graph from Michelle’s speech. #GOPConvention
WATCH: https://t.co/8BCOwXAHSy pic.twitter.com/zudpDznGng
— Jarrett Hill (@JarrettHill) July 19, 2016
Yes, it would seem that would-be First Lady Melania Trump, the opening night headliner at the Republican National Convention, gave a speech that swiped several lines from current First Lady Michelle Obama’s Democratic convention speech in 2008.
To compare, start around the 4:38 mark:
Earlier on Monday in an interview with Matt Lauer, Melania said of the speech, “I wrote it with as little help as possible,” which will make it tough to place the blame for the apparent plagiarism on some speechwriter scapegoat. Regardless of who’s responsible, however, you’d think that person would have learned in the fires of the last year of campaigning that the Internet WILL FIND YOU OUT. It’s not like some poor production assistant had to go dig through some dusty vault in a CNN sub-basement to find the Michelle Obama footage. No New York Times intern had to hunt for the clip in the newspaper’s morgue.
Nope: it just took a guy with a few thousand Twitter followers and quick fingers minutes to screen-shot the similarities. From there, the retweets began. Cable news began to chatter. The video side-by-sides showed up, and they seem awfully incontrovertible:
And of course, as with any Twitter tempest, anticipation of the blame-the-media backlash has already begun.
1. it’s not plagiarism
2. it’s similar but the media is being cruel
3. it was written by a fired intern
4. but actually it wasn’t plagiarism
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) July 19, 2016
That sounds about right. But if it really was the fault of a fired intern, that person is probably sleeping warm and cozy tonight after playing a deeper game than any of us realize. Maybe that intern understands the Internet better than anyone. Maybe the whole GOP just got rickrolled.
But to reiterate (and to paraphrase @tvoti), the real speechwriter’s scandal here is this ACTUAL RICKROLL?!?!?!?!?! pic.twitter.com/eSuFbbVs43
— mr. sonia (@soniasaraiya) July 19, 2016
Update (July 19, 2016, 2:15 AM ET): Trump campaign senior communications advisor released this statement: “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. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”