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OPINION: Plaigiarism claims surround Melania Trump's RNC speech, why the GOP blowing it off is not okay

buzzz worthy. . .
By Mona Austin




pla·gia·rismˈplājəˌrizəm/
nounthe practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.

Parts of Melania Trump's well rehearsed RNC speech sounded too familiar Monday  night. In fact, it sounded eerily similar to the woman whose shoes she would like to fill.  With a little research many viewers soon discovered why.  As journalist Jarrett Hill pointed out on Twitter, passages of the speech were lifted from First Lady Michelle Obama's 2008 DNC speech.

Like Hill, I noticed the copycatting right away.  In 2008 I stood on the DNC convention floor in Denver feet away from the then prospective first lady as she made a case for her husband to become the POTUS, albeit the first Black president in America.  Such a historic speech remained in my memory bank.  Realizing I had heard a few of the lines before, right after the delivery of the speech where over 30 million people tuned in I tweeted:


Indirectly, I was suggesting that Melania wanted to be like First Lady Michelle since she imitated portions of the speech.  Then, I fact checked the speech and confirmed my suspicion.  The verbiage, sentiment and tone in one paragraph--the paragraph that was the most inspiring in the speech-- were almost Mrs. Obama's words verbatim.  In fact, Mrs. Trump could have literally quoted the First Lady the words were so close.

At first Mrs. Trump was trending for all the right reasons. People were talking about how effective her keynote address was.  Many people commended her saying it was a good speech and she made a good impression.



Slovenia born, Mrs. Trump stood before America at the RNC last night to introduce  another side of herself and of her husband, GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump.  Both of their images were stained from previous negative press. Formerly a model, Mrs. Trump was scrutinized for posing in sexy photos that resemble soft porn.  "The Donald" has been accused of being a shady businessman among other shortcomings.

Everything was going swell.  Mr. Trump briefly introduced his wife and quickly removed himself from the spotlight so that she could be the center of attention, showing a rare form of humility.  Wearing a white dress, she appeared confident and strong delivering the speech that had the potential to make or break her husband's candidacy.

What happened next was like the sinking of the Titanic.  The comments suddenly became highly critical when people saw video and printed proof that she lifted both words and ideas from First Lady Michelle Obama's 2008 Speech from various media outlets.  

Melania told Matt Lauer she wrote the speech herself with little help.  She sounded sincere, then today a statement was released in response to the controversy indicating she had the assistance of a team of speech writers, which would be the norm.  It would also be standard procedure that others reviewed the speech so she may not be the only person to blame.  Someone may be getting fired behind the scenes.

Trump's Director of Communication, Paul Manafort tried to shift the blame on Hillary Clinton saying on CNN this morning saying, "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."  Chris Christie said in his legal opinion Mrs. Trump was using common words and the speech fiasco would soon blow over.   (Unbelievable.  Never mind the recycled words that actually flowed from  Melania's mouth.  Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama are somehow accountable for all the GOP's woes.)  

The RNC turning a deaf ear to plagiarism allegations is a damning reflection on the organization. The Trump's post-event silence on the matter is a reflection of their character. What dies this "do-what-I-wanna-do" attitude say about the type of leader Trump with be should he win? Plagiarism is a serious offense that is punishable by law. But the rule breakers don't seem to care. Owners of the song "We Are the Champions" (by Queen)stated via Twitter the campaign did not have their authorization to use the song at the event. In June a Queen group member said they did not want Trump using the same song. Trump's people claim they paid to use it.

From the statements the Trump camp issued today it is obvious that neither they, nor the RNC are going to insist that Mrs. Trump takes responsibility for mirroring words from First Lady Obama. The brand of the organization is already suffering from conflicting messages. The division that remains in the party is abundantly clear. Trump chose social conservative Mike Pence as a running mate to attract more mainline Republicans hoping to close that breach.  Lying about a speech that addressed family values could deter would be supporters. Admitting to making a mistake could lessen the perception the party is packed with hypocrites. The plagiarism allegations against Melania Trump can not be ignored.