Did Melania Trump Plagiarize Michelle Obama’s 2008 Speech?

AP_457645630589Barring a last-minute jolt to the proceedings, Donald Trump is about to attain his party’s presidential nomination.

This, despite efforts to stop him that spilled messily into the opening of the Republican National Convention. As his wife, Melania, put it from the stage on Monday night, “It would not be a Trump contest without excitement and drama.”

Instead of a manicured message of unity, viewers saw the fractured face of a party still coming to grips with Trump as nominee. But the roll call of states Tuesday night is on track to deliver him the prize.

The convention’s opening night had a high note as Mrs. Trump spoke on behalf of her husband, but two passages from her speech strikingly resembled words spoken by Michelle Obama in 2008.

Donald Trump’s campaign chairman says it’s “just absurd” to claim that Melania Trump lifted two passages nearly word-for-word from the speech that first lady Michelle Obama delivered in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention.

Paul Manafort told CNN Tuesday morning that “there’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech.”

He added that, “there’s no feeling on her part that she did it.”

Manafort suggested that Mrs. Trump was merely using “words that are common words.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is playing down criticism over lifted passages in Melania Trump’s convention remarks, saying “93 percent of the speech is completely different” than a speech first lady Michelle Obama delivered eight years ago.

Christie said Tuesday that Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Obama “expressed some common thoughts.” He did not explain how he arrived at the 93 percent figure.

Speaking on NBC’s “Today” show, Christie said “a lot” of what he heard from Mrs. Trump “sounded very much like her and the way she speaks about Donald all the time.” He said on the first day of a party convention “everybody gets breathless about something to cover and a controversy to talk about.”

Christie predicted no one would be talking about the issue after Tuesday.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus says he would “probably” fire his speechwriters if they lifted passages from someone else’s remarks.

However, Priebus says he doesn’t “have a view yet” on whether Melania Trump’s convention speech included plagiarized sentences from a 2008 Michelle Obama address. Priebus praised Mrs. Trump for her “inspirational” remarks, particularly her story of immigrating from Slovenia.

He acknowledged the controversy was a “distraction” but said he expected the convention to get back on message Tuesday.

Priebus spoke to reporters at a Bloomberg breakfast.

Donald Trump’s campaign chairman says he would fire anyone who copied parts of first lady Michelle Obama’s speech into Melania Trump’s address to the Republican convention Monday night. But Paul Manafort added that he doesn’t believe there was plagiarism.

Manafort told The Associated Press Tuesday that he agrees with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ remark that he would probably fire anyone responsible for plagiarizing. Manafort said, “Frankly if I knew somebody did it, I would fire them too.”

Manafort added that “nobody believes” Mrs. Trump plagiarized the speech.

He said, “There were a few words on it, but they’re not words that were unique words. Ninety-nine percent of that speech talked about her being an immigrant and love of country and love of family and everything else.”

Manafort added in the brief interview, “This is totally blown out of proportion.”

He continued, “They’re not even sentences. They’re literally phrases.”

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