Tuesday, July 19, 2016


A paragraph of Melania Trump's speech last night was clearly plagiarized from Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech:

It's being argued that the Trump campaign is compounding the unforced error by denying the obvious. Campaign chief Paul Manafort blames Hillary Clinton ("This is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down"). Chris Christie says the speech was only 7% plagiarized ("93 percent of the speech is completely different than Michelle Obama's speech").

But now it's not just the Trumpites. Sean Spicer of the Republican National Committee is arguing that you should disregard a sequence of exact or near-exact copies of sentences because similar sentiments have been expressed in vaguely similar words by others, including a "My Little Pony" character:

The seemingly excessive Trump pushback seems like a mistake made by an overaggressive and inexperienced campaign. So why are seasoned pros at the RNC also joining in to compound the error?

I'm not sure, but it might work for them.

You know the classic definition of "chutzpah"? The kid who kills his parents and then asks the judge for mercy because he's an orphan?

This could be similar. If the story remains in the news cycle, Trumpites and party officials will later blame Democrats and the "liberal media" for keeping it in the headlines -- even though they're helping to keep it newsworthy by fighting so hard against it, rather than quietly issuing an acknowledgment of the error, then possibly firing a scapegoat or two late on a Friday afternoon. Something terrible will happen in the world soon, and Republicans will say something like: "Democrats care more about analyzing speeches made by Donald Trump's wife than they do about [global terrorism/murdered police officers/etc.]."

Of course, the blunder could just be so embarrassing that the story can't bounce that way. And, of course, Donald Trump could spend twenty minutes talking about this in his acceptance speech on Thursday, which will be so preposterous that he'll undermine any GOP pushback now. But Republicans are usually good at flooding the zone with messaging and thus controlling how issues are talked about, so this could work out for them -- although it would work out a lot better for them if their candidate wasn't a lunatic with impulse-control problems.


Victor said...

Being conservative means never having to say you're wrong, or sorry.

They just double-down on the stupid!

The New York Crank said...

Who knew that the talented Melania could lip-synch Michelle?

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

CH said...

Let it be noted that DT seems pretty quiet on the Twitter front regarding the missus' speech. I hope that does not mean that he's actually learning some self-discipline, but it's not impossible - and if he is, that's not good news.

Steve M. said...

Chris Hayes has said that he can tell when Paul Manafort has changed Trump's Twitter password - and when Trump guesses the new password and jumps back on. I think that may be true, but it's Ivanka, not Manafort.

Never Ben Better said...

Whatever benefit they might get from fighting back I think is undercut by the constant juxtaposition of Melania's robotic, accented nasal drone and Michelle's lively, warm, passionate delivery. The contrast is stark, and cruel to the plagiarist.

Hell, even the difference in the makeup between the two women highlights the artificial/genuine divide.

Of course, my distaste for the raccoon-eye look is perhaps prejudicing me on this latter point.

Feud Turgidson said...

I'm with Frum on this: it won't work because this just makes people think Trump is a doofus for having his robot sex trophy doll do this. There's a Doofus Line just like a Mendoza Line, and a candidate for serious public office doesn't want to cross that line.

KenRight said...

Plagiarists heal thyselves



John Taylor said...

The speech plagiarism is nothing compared to the lies and slander coming from the rest of the clowns. Expect a lot more from that ratfucker Manafort.

Jeff Ryan said...

@KenRight: You have reached the point where fact-checking your posts is a useless exercise. Meaning, whatever you say is presumed to be a lie, so go work for Trump (on his payroll for a change, since you've earned it), and please leave those with above-room-temperature IQs to converse like grownups.

To the remainder of sentient beings here (which, it hardly needs saying, doesn't include KenRight), it was hysterical watching Craig Melvin shut Sean Spicer down today on MSNBC. Every time Spicer tried to squirm out of recognition of the obvious, Melvin laughed derisively and made Spicer his bitch.

Gerald Lillpop said...

They have already blamed Hillary for this so what is new. Here's a thought maybe all of this whinny BS will start to show everyone not in love with tRump that he really is unfit to be president. Have you thought of that?

Aunt Snow said...

KenRight - quite a stretch. You're lame.

Roger said...

This is about the silliest thing to happen in the whole orchestrated whoop-la. Let's just suppose Melania is correct in saying she wrote the speech. How would a person to whom English is a second language go about it? They might look up some books on great speeches. They might look up some books from motivational speakers. They might even watch re-runs of My Little Pony. Not being completely fluent in the language they might not know how to re-phrase what they're reading. I'm bringing up this scenario because I live in Thailand, and Thai is not my first language, and if I were required to give a speech in Thai this is what I might do.

On the other hand, if Paul Manafort hired the speech writer and gave him one day to come up with a speech (because expected speaker dropped out) he might have cribbed from other speakers figuring nobody was going to pay attention anyway. Bad management, which reflects badly on Trump, too.