The Trump campaign plays down similarities in the speeches made by Melania Trump and Michelle Obama.
CLEVELAND, OHIO, UNITED STATES (JULY 19, 2016) (REUTERS) – The Trump campaign on Tuesday (July 19) played down the similarity between a section of Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention and words delivered at the Democratic convention in 2008 by the woman she hopes to succeed as U.S. first lady, Michelle Obama.
“It talks about her love of the country and how it developed and her love of her husband and how it developed and family and the family values. These are themes that are personal to her, but they’re personal to a lot of people, depending on the stories of their lives. Obviously Michelle Obama feels very, very much similar sentiments towards her family,” Paul Manafort, chairman of the Trump campaign, told reporters at a morning press briefing in Cleveland.
“The fact that there are things like ‘care’ and ‘respect’ and ‘compassion’, you know, you know those are not extraordinary words, and certainly when you talk about family, they’re normal words,” he added.
It was a small section of Melania Trump’s roughly 15-minute speech, a highlight of the opening day of the convention, that was similar to a part of Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008 in support of Barack Obama, who was then campaigning for president.
“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,” said Melania Trump, a Slovenian-born jewelry designer and former model.
“They taught me to show the values and morals in my daily life. That is the lesson that I continue to pass along to our son,” she said.
“And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow, because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
In 2008, Michelle Obama said, “And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that 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.”
“…And Barack Obama and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generations,” she added.
“Because we want our children, and all children in this nation, to know that the only limit to the height of your achievement is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Manafort said the Clinton campaign had seized on Melania’s speech for political reasons.
“It’s just another example, as far as we’re concerned, that when Hillary Clinton is threatened by a female, the first thing she does is try to destroy the person. But it’s politics, we recognize it and we’re just going to move on. We’re focusing on the message that Melania Trump gave last night. The American people are focusing on it, we’re very pleased about it,” he said.
Before Monday’s speech, Melania Trump told NBC in remarks that were aired on several networks: “I wrote it… with as little help as possible.”
A spokesman for the Trump campaign called the speech a success, but suggested her writers might have mistakenly injected some borrowed language.
“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,” Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser, said in a statement.
Donald Trump made no mention of the issue in a Twitter post early on Tuesday, saying simply: “It was truly an honor to introduce my wife, Melania Trump last night. Her speech and demeanor were absolutely incredible. Very proud!”
Trump has never held elective office and his White House campaign has been marked by frequent controversy over unorthodox policies and freewheeling remarks that have alarmed many in the Republican establishment.
It is a tradition of the party conventions for spouses to offer an enthusiastic personal endorsement of candidates. On Tuesday night, the gathering in Cleveland will formally anoint Donald Trump the Republican presidential candidate for the Nov. 8 election.