Did Donald Trump Jr Plagiarize His RNC Speech? The Convention Speeches Are Turning Into Scandals
On Tuesday night, Donald Trump Jr. addressed the crowd at the Republican National Convention, in what some consider the most successful speech of the night. Others, however, noticed something else: parts of Trump Jr.'s speech seemed similar to an article in American Conservative. After his stepmom's speech the previous night, which seemed to lift lines from Michelle Obama's 2008 DNC speech, some might wonder: Did Trump Jr. plagiarize his RNC speech?
Luckily, the Trumps didn't fool us twice. Parts of the speech are in fact copied from an American Conservative article, but that's because F.H. Buckley wrote Trump Jr.'s speech, and he's the author of said article. In an interview with Vox, Buckley said he was the "principal speechwriter" of Trump Jr.'s speech, and therefore "it's not an issue" that it contains lines from his older work.
The sentences in question reference "soviet-era department stores" and stalled elevators as a metaphor for our current education system. The lines are specific and similar enough that they couldn't have come from, say, My Little Pony, and it was those similarities which launched a similarly incredulous trending topic on Twitter. A few hours later, Buckley identified himself as the speech's writer, putting the uproar to rest.
If Trump Jr.'s speech caught people's attention, it was due in equal parts to his confident delivery and Buckley's writing. I must say, despite the fact that I despise Trump Sr. and disagree with most everything I've ever read by Buckley, even I felt its effects.
Trump Jr.'s excellent delivery masked the mediocrity of his speech's content. It's the same tried-and-true Trumpisms, from the "working-class values" they tout to their bizarre admiration for Bernie Sanders, with a few mixed-in phrases aimed at diversity, perhaps the most ironic being when he tried to appeal to "Hispanic Americans." He also made a number of bold and baseless statements about Hillary Clinton which clearly pandered to their conservative base, including my favorite line:
She says she’ll issue executive orders to take away Americans’ guns. She wants to appoint judges who will abolish the Second Amendment.
Despite the transparency of these arguments, Trump Jr.'s speech was seen as a win by spectators on social media, with some saying that his speech "saved" the second night of the RNC. If nothing else, it was foretelling the sort of educated and well-spoken pro-Trump arguments that could lead to a Trump presidency. Oh, the horror.