Donald Trump Campaign Releases A Confusing Statement On Melania Trump's RNC Speech Scandal

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gives a thumbs up to the crowd after his wife Melania delivered a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

After what seemed like a fairly successful first night of the Republican National Convention for Donald Trump, scandal emerged around Melania Trump's speech. It was Melania's first national appearance on a scale this big, and despite not having a ton of experience with public speaking, she remained confident and poised throughout the speech. However, people quickly realized that her speech had mimicked lines from Michelle Obama's 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention, at times copying things word-for-word. The Trump campaign's response to Melania's RNC speech was confusing in that they didn't really say who was at fault here, nor did they acknowledge the potential for an incident involving plagiarism.

There were six lines from Melania's speech that were called into question when compared with Michelle's 2008 speech. Since the Trump campaign has not really made an explicit statement about the similarities, it remains unclear if Melania or her speechwriters plagiarized the speech for the July 17 convention event. Obama's former speechwriter, Jon Favreau, weighed in on the scandal, saying the lines were "nearly identical" adding, "Someone is seriously fired."

But that's where things get interesting: the official Trump campaign statement refers to a "team of writers" and not a single person, so it's kind of difficult to fire an entire "team" after potential plagiarism. 

[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/maggieNYT/status/755281231743442944]

Jason Miller, the Trump campaign's senior communications advisor, signed off on the official statement that just barely responded to the Melania's speech mishap:

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.

The language seems odd to me, at least in light of the speech similarities news, particularly when Miller wrote that the speechwriters "included fragments that reflected her own thinking." It was a speech about Melania's husband, of course it should reflect her own thinking. Unless, of course, there were borrowed fragments from Michelle Obama's speech, in which case it would also be reflecting Michelle's thinking. 

Now the question is who made up this "team of writers" and if there was actually a team, or if there was a single person who did this damage. Interestingly, though, Melania told NBC's Matt Lauer earlier in the day that she wrote the speech herself. "I read once over it and that’s all. Because I wrote it and with [as] little help as possible,” Melania told Lauer. It's still yet to be determined if this is true, and if the "little help" she received resulted in potential plagiarism, but right now, the Trump campaign is steering clear of this scandal for as long as they can.

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