Hours after Melania Trump, wife of GOP standard-bearer Donald Trump, delivered a speech that was obviously cribbed from Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC address, the Trump campaign was in damage control mode. And from the early results, they were failing mightily in those actions.
Once a reporter noticed the similarities between the two speeches and released a side-by-side comparison late Monday night, and the media immediately focused its collective attention on the story, the Trump camp released the following 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.”
Now, mind you, Melania told NBC’s Matt Lauer before delivering her speech that she had written nearly the whole thing and only got a little help from others. So there’s that. This statement also fails to address, even slightly, the plagiarism accusation. (And, let’s be honest here, there is no accusation…she straight up stole a section from Michelle.)
Anyway, I guess kudos to the Trump team for actually sending out a statement overnight rather than just relying on The Donald farting out a tweet.
Tuesday morning, campaign manager Paul Manafort was sent out to the morning news shows to do some spin control, which basically meant denying Melania is a plagiarist. Speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Manafort not only defended the hopeful First Lady, but attacked Hillary Clinton because why the fuck not.
“Well, there’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These are common words and values, that she cares about her family, things like that. I mean, she was speaking in front of 35 million people last night. She knew that. To think that she would be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy. I mean, this is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton how she seeks out to demean her and take her down. It’s not going to work.”
So, it’s Hillary’s fault that Melania is a thief? OK then.
After Cuomo pushed back on Manafort’s hot take, noting that it isn’t really an allegation because the proof is right in front of everyone’s eyes, the Trump flak doubled down on the “common words” excuse.
“There was a collaboration. Certainly, there’s no feeling on her part that she did it, that what she did was use words that are common words. To expect her to think that she would do something like that, knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd.”
Cuomo ended by saying, “If that’s the way you want to explain, that’s up to you.”
I feel you, Chris. I feel you.