Did Melania Trump Plagiarize Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC Speech?



Several lines in Melania Trump’s keynote Republican National Convention speech appear to have been plagiarized from First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Jarrett Hill, a Los Angeles-based writer, first the uncovered similarities in sections of both speeches about values.

The speech by Melania Trump, the wife of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, was considered to be the highlight of the first day of the GOP convention.

The paragraph in Melania Trump’s speech does not use the same exact wording as Obama’s 2008 speech, but includes the same theme and many of the same words.

You can watch the part of Melania Trump’s speech below:

Here is the similar paragraph from Obama’s speech:

Here is a transcript of the paragraph in Trump’s speech:

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. They taught and showed me morals in their daily life. That is the lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to 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.

And here is a transcript of the similar paragraph in Obama’s speech:

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, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

Here is video of the two speeches side by side (h/t @MikeHearn):

Donald Trump’s senior communications advisor, Jason Miller, issued a statement on Melania’s speech on behalf of the campaign early Tuesday morning, but did not mention the plagiarism accusation:

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.

As the plagiarism accusation spread like wildfire on social media, the presumptive Republican nominee tweeted that he is “very proud” of his wife:

Melania Trump told NBC’s Matt Lauer she wrote the speech “with as little help as possible”:

According to CNN, she worked with a speechwriter “for the last five to six weeks, honing her speech.”

Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chair and convention manager, denied the plagiarism claims Tuesday morning in an interview with CBS News:

They’re a couple of phrases. It’s basically three places in the speech and its fragments of words. She knew what she was doing. And she never cribbed from another speech without acknowledging that she was quoting somebody else. We’re talking about words like compassion, love of family, respect. These are not words that are unique words, that belong to the Obamas.

The plagiarism accusation spread quickly on social media Monday night. One of the reactions came from President Obama’s former speechwriter:

Favreau said the 2008 speech was written by Sarah Hurwitz:

Here are some of the other tweets about the apparent plagiarism:

Another portion of the speech led to many jokes on Twitter about whether she “Rickrolled” America by using a line from a Rick Astley song in her speech: