Did Meredith McIver Plagiarize Michelle Obama's 2008 Speech On Purpose? She Offers A Weak Explanation For What Happened
Since the first night of this week's Republican National Convention, only one person may have overshadowed the man of the hour: his wife. On Monday, Melania Trump gave a speech in support of her husband, presidential nominee Donald Trump, but she raised a few eyebrows when some listeners noticed that portions of her remarks were identical to parts of Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The sections in question came across as verbatim repetitions, but did Meredith McIver plagiarize Michelle's speech on purpose? McIver, Melania's speechwriter, has maintained that any plagiarism wasn't intentional.
If you missed the incident, which is unlikely, here's a recap: Melania Trump gave a speech filled with complimentary platitudes on the opening night of the convention, which would later officially nominate her husband for president. But some statements in her speech sounded identical to the one Michelle Obama gave at her own husband's very first nominating convention. Both speeches used phrases such as "...you work hard for what you want in life," and "...the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."
As it turns out, the phrases were in fact lifted from the first lady's speech, but they weren't included intentionally. On Wednesday, after the Trump campaign had signaled that no one would be fired for the mistake, McIver herself released a statement, on Trump letterhead, taking responsibility for the redundancies and assuring the public that they weren't intentional.
McIver identified herself as an "in-house staff writer at the Trump Organization." She explained that Melania read her some of the portions of Michelle's speech as examples of phrases she admired. Apparently, McIver accidentally left those phrases in the final draft of the speech:
I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing the draft that ultimately became the final speech. 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 explanation seemed to quell some of the conversation around the speech, but it simultaneously raised other questions. For instance, many Twitter users surmised on Wednesday that McIver isn't actually a real person, noting that her supposed Twitter account only popped up online on Wednesday. From that Twitter account, McIver shared photos of herself with the Trumps, and contested The New York Times' claim that she is a registered Democrat.
According to McIver, the plagiarism which has dominated much of the news cycle for the past three days was not intentional. According to others, McIver doesn't actually exist. Hold on tight, folks. The bumpy ride of Trump's candidacy continues.