The cover-up is almost always worse than the infraction. It’s even more ridiculous when the “infraction” is no big deal. Yes, this is more space devoted to Melania Trump’s speech on Monday night. But the point is not the speech, it’s how news and talk of the speech was handled by Trump’s people: Poorly.
The latest news is that a staffer is taking responsibility for the speech. I have to say, that’s refreshing. The last time a public official took the blame for something, and was willing to take the consequences was JFK’s unprecedented apology to the nation for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. Since then, it’s been blather—“yeah, I take the blame, what’re ya gonna do about it?”
In Europe, a screw up automatically results in losing one’s position, such as the resignation of the British Prime Minister David Cameron. He was against Brexit, but a majority of a minority voted for it, so he took responsibility (in short supply here), and fell on his sword. The refreshing thing on this side of the pond is that someone actually did offer to resign over Melania’s speech (albeit, a low-level drone. . .), according to Fox.
A speechwriter for Melania Trump took the blame Wednesday for lifting passages from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech, admitting she made a “mistake” – while saying she offered her resignation, but it was rejected.
In a written apology put out by the Donald Trump campaign responding to the furor, a self-described “in house staff writer” at the Trump Organization named Meredith McIver said she worked with Melania Trump on her opening-night convention speech.
Meredith who? Former Trump campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski says he’s sure a high-level person must have approved the speech—and that’s who should go, according to Politico.
Corey Lewandowski said Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, should resign if he was the last person to review Melania Trump’s speech, which has some overlap with Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech.
“I agree with Reince Priebus. Whoever wrote the speech should be made accountable and fired,” said Lewandowski, lamenting that the focus had shifted from Melania Trump to a staff error. Lewandowski was fired as Trump’s campaign manager in June, after clashing with Manafort.
He also expressed specific suggestions for Manafort, should the error have been his. “When I was the campaign manager, the buck stopped with me, and I’m sitting here with CNN now,” he said. “I think if it was Paul Manafort, he’d do the right thing and resign. If he was the last person who saw this, and saw this happen, and has brought this on the candidate’s wife, I think he’d resign because that’s the type of person he would be.
The New York Daily News says the speech tracts were no problem, but the crazy denial was.
Instead of acknowledging the plagiarism, or even claiming Melania Trump listened to Michelle Obama’s speech and was deeply inspired by it, the Trump campaign flat-out denied any such thing ever took place. Speaking to CNN early Tuesday morning, Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort called the accusations “absurd” and “crazy.”
Trying to change the subject, Trump’s campaign accused Hillary Clinton’s campaign of publicizing the matter. Except that that wasn’t true, either, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Melania Trump used “common words and values” in her prime-time Republican National Convention speech Monday night, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort said Tuesday, blaming Democrat Hillary Clinton for allegations that Mrs. Trump’s remarks were plagiarized from First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention address. . .
On Twitter, a senior Clinton adviser, Jennifer Palmieri, denied that the campaign played a role in spreading the plagiarism allegations.
Actually, the first notice of the speech comparisons was actually from a reporter/blogger.
OMG. Melania. That was literally a whole line from Michelle Obama 2012.
“…their willingness to work hard for them.””#GOPConvention
— Jarrett Hill (@JarrettHill) July 19, 2016
— Jarrett Hill (@JarrettHill) July 19, 2016
Credit should go to Melania Trump. In an interview, she claimed to have written the whole speech, according to Today.
Hours before giving a speech at the Republican National Convention that has drawn charges of plagiarism, Melania Trump told TODAY she penned the address herself with very little help.
“I read it once over, and that’s all because I wrote it with as little help as possible,” she told TODAY’s Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview on Monday.
Back to Fox, it was clear that Melania provided the ideas, but McIver actually did the writing.
She [McIver] said that she wrote down passages from the first lady’s speech during planning discussions, after Melania Trump mentioned them as the kind of message she wanted to share.
“I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech,” she said. “I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant.”
The Daily News put an interesting spin on it:
Let’s be clear here — this is an absolutely undeniable case of plagiarism. Sentence after sentence, phrase after phrase, thought after thought were directly stolen from Michelle Obama. What’s wild is not just that Melania Trump plagiarized the speech — but she stole Michelle Obama’s description of how she and Barack see the world. In other words, Melania Trump just told us that how Barack and Michelle see the world is exactly, verbatim, how she and Donald see the world.
HOWEVER, does anyone care? Probably not. Republicans may be embarrassed, but who cares? Likewise, Dems have made a big deal about it, but—really? No, the “borrowed” words, phrases, and ideas were not a problem. The problem was the awkward and bumbling way the campaign responded.
AND, of course, it invited humor. . .
Girl you know its true, ooh ooh ooohh i love you… #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes #millivanilli pic.twitter.com/IryTUUDFh1
— Carin K (@thelovelymissCK) July 19, 2016
“I’d like to thank two of my speech writers, Copy and Paste, for their help in preparing my remarks” #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes
— Jim Stilwell (@JimmyHack) July 19, 2016
“I’m so proud of my husband Barack.” #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes
— Edgar Gibbons (@bleustreak) July 19, 2016
“I’m strong to the finish cause I eats me spinach. I’m Popeye the sailor man.” #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes
— colton dunn (@captdope) July 19, 2016
“This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”#FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes pic.twitter.com/p6v5i0Fb0V
— Parker (@Parker9_) July 19, 2016
“It takes a village to steal a speech.”#FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotespic.twitter.com/3IH7AvgKYL
— (((Lady TheoloGOP))) (@TheoloGOP) July 19, 2016
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes
— Keya Morgan (@KeyaMorgan) July 19, 2016
“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”#FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes pic.twitter.com/KKSwatgyyR
— Cole Wiley (@wolfwiles) July 19, 2016