As we all know, a lot went down last night at the RNC. There were random speeches from former ’80s stars Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato Jr., and a complete denial of contributions made to this country by non-White citizens courtesy of Rep. Steven King. This year’s convention honestly couldn’t get any weirder.
At least not until Melania Trump, wife of the presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, took the stage, reciting a speech that was eerily reminiscent of Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC address. What transpired was an expert lesson on copy and paste.
After the speech, Trump’s campaign and his supporters did their due diligence to spread the word that Mrs. Trump’s narrative was all her own. We bring you the list of deniers, one by one.
1. Donald Trump
He summed up his thoughts with the following tweet:
2. Trump’s Senior Communication Advisor, Jason Miller
“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,” Miller said in a statement early Tuesday morning. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it a success.”
3. Trump Campaign Official National Spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson
In an interview with The Hill, Pierson said the following: “These are values, Republican values by the way, of hard work, determination, family values, dedication and respect, and that’s Melania Trump.This concept that Michelle Obama invented the English language is absurd.”
Pierson added the caveat that Laura Bush’s 2004 RNC speech listed similar ideas, insinuating that Obama’s ideas weren’t original either.
4. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Christie doubled down in regards to his comments about the controversial speech on Tuesday. TPM points out that during an interview with TODAY show host Matt Lauer, Christie was asked if the speech’s similarities made a case for plagiarism, but Christie said there was none.
“No, not when 93 percent of the speech is completely different than Michelle Obama’s speech,” he said. But then replied that Trump and Obama, “expressed some common thoughts.”
Later, in an interview with CNN, he repeated his 93 percent theory, saying, “I just don’t see it,” and attributing the ideas Trump shared as common and universal. “There’s no way Melania Trump was plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech,” Christie said.
5. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst
“You could tell she truly does love her husband and she loves this country,” Ernst told a group of reporters gathered at the RNC, according to Bloomberg.
Ernst faces her own media crisis, as many reporters repeatedly pointed out on Twitter that the senator addressed an empty convention hall; a large number of delegates and attendees left at the beginning of her speech.
There were a few who felt sorry for Mrs. Trump, like VOX founder Ezra Klein.
And NPR Politics found it necessary to pull together a “long history” of presidential candidates who “lifted” words from other historic speeches. But Mrs. Trump isn’t a politician; she’s married to one. Besides, “lifted” is a simple synonym. Trump pirated Obama’s speech.
One aspect that made her speech unbelievable was the phrase “word is bond,” an ode to ’90s hip-hop. The First Lady owned it in her 2008 DNC speech, which resonated with a particular generation. But, hearing those words uttered by Trump seemed inconceivable.
Then there’s a conspiracy theory circulating that Trump’s speech was actually a ploy to sabotage the campaign, as Jason Miller, Trump’s head communication advisor, was formerly Ted Cruz’s senior communications advisor during the Texas senator’s presidential campaign.
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski are calling for the resignation of senior staff due to the speech flub, but as of Tuesday afternoon, the campaign remains mum on what will transpire.