Did Melania Trump Plagiarize Michelle Obama’s Speech?

Jul 19, 2016

Monday night, Melania Trump delivered the most anticipated and well-received speech on the first night of the Republican National Convention, but that’s not why her appearance is making waves. Soon after the presumptive nominee’s wife finished her 15-minute speech in Cleveland, similarities began to emerge between her speech and the one delivered by first lady Michelle Obama during the Democratic National Convention eight years ago, sparking plagiarism allegations.

While not copied word-for-word, the section of Mrs. Trump’s remarks that focused on morals and integrity closely mirrored the first lady’s 2008 convention address. In a portion of the speech where Trump discussed her childhood, she said “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.” In 2008, the First Lady’s words were “Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like 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.”

The Trump campaign released a statement early Tuesday morning addressing the controversy, saying, in part “There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These are common words and values that she cares about her family, things like that.” However, the statement seemed to directly contradict what Melania said in an Monday interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer (before giving the speech), in which she said she personally wrote it “with as little help as possible.”

So was it intentional? Who is responsible? That’s not quite yet clear – but the similarities are undeniable. Watch the below video (which highlights the words in question side-by-side) and judge for yourself.

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