Sure, the 2016 Republican National Convention was supposed to be about how Donald Trump (this guy!) is finally the Republican presidential candidate America deserves. But now it's become "How did the Trump campaign let Melania Trump read a speech that plagiarized Michelle Obama on primetime television?" and "How come the Trump campaign can't stick to a single narrative when trying to explain it?" Like, My Little Pony—really?!?
After it became very apparent that the model-turned-third Mrs. Trump used extremely similar phrases as Michelle Obama did at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the Trump camp wavered between blaming writers ("Melania's team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking") and Hillary Clinton (Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort: "This is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, she seeks out to demean her and take her down").
Then Trump water boy Chris Christie argued on the Today Show that it's "not" really plagiarism "when 93% of the speech is completely different than Michelle Obama’s speech." Seriously, everyone knows it's only plagiarism if you copy more than 62.7% of your material. And Manafort insisted there were only 50 similar words, "And that includes ‘ands’ and ‘thes’ and things like that."
Late last night, the NY Times published a look at what allegedly happened with Melania Trump's speech: Republican speechwriters Matthew Scully and John McConnell, who wrote George W. Bush's 9/11 speech, were hired by Ivanka Trump's husband Jared Kushner to write the speech.
The speechwriters, Matthew Scully and John McConnell, sent Ms. Trump a draft last month, eager for her approval.
Weeks went by. They heard nothing.
Inside Trump Tower, it turned out, Ms. Trump had decided she was uncomfortable with the text, and began tearing it apart, leaving a small fraction of the original... Ms. Trump decided to revise it, and at one point she turned to a trusted hand: Meredith McIver, a New York City-based former ballet dancer and English major who has worked on some of Mr. Trump’s books, including “Think Like a Billionaire.” It was not clear how much of a hand Ms. McIver had in the final product, and she did not respond to an email on Tuesday.
Now McIver has taken the fall, announcing her resignation:
Meredith McIver, an in-house staff writer from the Trump Organization, releases statement on Melania speech pic.twitter.com/mWuPKmjsbn
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) July 20, 2016
The statement reads, "In working with Melania on her recent first lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people," and shockingly reveals, "A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama."
McIver claims that her boss's wife "read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant."
So it's not plagiarism but the speechwriter still offered her resignation for it?
— Kelsey L. Hayes (@kelseylh) July 20, 2016
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said yesterday, "I agree with Reince Priebus, whoever was the staff person who wrote this speech should be held accountable and should be fired. I know accountability. I know accountability in the Trump campaign and I know what it’s like to be fired from the Trump campaign. There absolutely has to be accountability. There’s accountability in everything we do. I’ve had that accountability. Someone should be held to that same standard."
Trump Organization letterhead & employees are corporate resources which may not be legally used in campaigns. https://t.co/XSN4MC8DdS
— Max Temkin (@MaxTemkin) July 20, 2016