ABCNews.com(CLEVELAND) — Melania Trump has come under fire for delivering a speech on the first night of the Republican National Convention that reflected portions of Michelle Obama’s address to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, denied allegations that the former model and Trump’s third wife lifted Monday night’s speech from the first lady’s, saying such an act would be “crazy.”
“There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech,” Manafort told Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “New Day.” “These were common words and values that she cares about her family, things like that.”
“She was speaking in front of 35 million people last night. She knew that,” Manafort added. “To think that she would be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy.”
Melania Trump told NBC News’ Matt Lauer that she wrote the speech with as “little help as possible.” But after allegations of plagiarism emerged, Donald Trump’s campaign released a statement that painted a somewhat different picture, and unlike Manafort, it did not categorically deny the possibility that she had borrowed some ideas.
“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,” the statement said.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 19, 2016
We’ll let you decide for yourself.
Here’s the transcript of Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver eight years ago:
“As you might imagine, for Barack, running for president is nothing compared to that first game of basketball with my brother, Craig. I can’t tell you how much it means to have Craig and my mom here tonight. Like Craig, I can feel my dad looking down on us, just as I’ve felt his presence in every grace-filled moment of my life. At 6 foot 6, I’ve often felt like Craig was looking down on me too. Literally. But the truth is, both when we were kids and today, Craig wasn’t looking down on me — he was watching over me. And he’s been there for me every step of the way since that clear day in Feb. 19 months ago, when — with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change — we joined my husband, Barack Obama, on the improbable journey that’s led us to this moment.
But each of us also comes here tonight by way of our own improbable journey. I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend. I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president. And I come here as a mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world. They’re the first things I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. Their future — and all our children’s future — is my stake in this election. And I come here as a daughter — raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother’s love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion and her intelligence reflected in my daughters. My dad was our rock. Although he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early 30s, he was our provider, our champion, our hero. As he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk. It took him longer to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing — even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier and worked a little harder. He and my mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child could receive: never doubting for a single minute that you’re loved and cherished and have a place in this world. And thanks to their faith and their hard work, we both were able to go on to college.
So I know firsthand from their lives — and mine — that the American dream endures. And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he’d grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working class folks just like my parents and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities that they never had themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values — like you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them and even if you don’t agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.
And as our friendship grew and I learned more about Barack, he introduced me to the work he’d done when he first moved to Chicago after college. You see, instead of heading to Wall Street, Barack went to work in neighborhoods that had been devastated. Steel plants shut down, and jobs dried up. And he’d been invited back to speak to people from those neighborhoods about how to rebuild their community. The people gathered together that day were ordinary folks doing the best they could to build a good life. They were parents living paycheck to paycheck, grandparents trying to get it together on a fixed income, men frustrated that they couldn’t support their families after their jobs disappeared. Those folks weren’t asking for a handout or a shortcut. They were ready to work. They wanted to contribute. They believed — like you and I believe — that America should be a place where you can make it if you try. Barack stood up that day and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about the world as it is and the world as it should be. And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two and settle for the world as it is — even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves — to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be.
And isn’t that the great American story? It’s the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in high school gyms — people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had — refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals. It is because of their will and determination that this week, we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation. And I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history — knowing that my piece of the American dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I’ve met all across this country. People who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight and head out for the night shift — without disappointment, without regret — that goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they’re working for. The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. The servicemen and -women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it. The young people across America serving our communities — teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day. People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters — and sons — can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher. People like Joe Biden, who’s never forgotten where he came from and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again. All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do — that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be. That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack’s journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope. And you see, that is why I love this country.
And in my own life, in my own small way, I’ve tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. See, that’s why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us — no matter what our age or background or walk of life — each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation. And it’s a belief Barack shares — a belief at the heart of his life’s work. It’s what he did all those years ago, on the streets of Chicago, setting up job training to get people back to work and after-school programs to keep kids safe — working block by block to help people lift up their families. It’s what he did in the Illinois Senate, moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hardworking families and making sure women get equal pay for equal work. It’s what he’s done in the United States Senate, fighting to ensure that the men and women who serve this country are welcomed home not just with medals and parades but with good jobs and benefits and health care, including mental health care.
See, that’s why he’s running — to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That’s what Barack Obama will do as president of the United States of America. He’ll achieve these goals the same way he always has — by bringing us together and reminding us how much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn’t care where you’re from or what your background is or what party — if any — you belong to. That’s not how he sees the world. He knows that thread that connects us — our belief in America’s promise, our commitment to our children’s future — he knows that that thread is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree. It was strong enough to bring hope to those neighborhoods in Chicago. It was strong enough to bring hope to the mother he met worried about her child in Iraq, hope to the man who’s unemployed but can’t afford gas to find a job, hope to the student working nights to pay for her sister’s health care, sleeping just a few hours a day. And it was strong enough to bring hope to people who came out on a cold Iowa night and became the first voices in this chorus for change that’s been echoed by millions of Americans from every corner of this nation. Millions of Americans who know that Barack understands their dreams, millions who know that Barack will fight for people like them and that Barack will finally bring the change we need.
And in the end, after all that’s happened these past 19 months, the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago. He’s the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital 10 years ago this summer, inching along at a snail’s pace, peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he’d struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her what he never had: the affirming embrace of a father’s love. And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, you see, I think about how one day, they’ll have families of their own. And how one day, they — and your sons and daughters — will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They’ll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country — where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House — we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be. So tonight, in honor of my father’s memory and my daughters’ future — out of gratitude to those whose triumphs we mark this week and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment — let us devote ourselves to finishing their work. Let us work together to fulfill their hopes. And let’s stand together to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.”
And here’s the transcript of the speech that Melania Trump read at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland Monday night:
“Thank you very much. Thank you. You have all been very kind to Donald and me, to our young son, Barron, and to our whole family. It’s a very nice welcome, and we’re excited to be with you at this historic convention. I am so proud of your choice for president of the United States, my husband, Donald J. Trump. And I can assure you, he is moved by this great honor. The 2016 Republican primaries were fierce and started with many candidates, 17 to be exact, and I know that Donald agrees with me when I mention how talented all of them are. They deserve respect and gratitude from all of us. However, when it comes to my husband, I will say that I am definitely biased, and for good reason.
I have been with Donald for 18 years and I have been aware of his love for this country since we first met. He never had a hidden agenda when it comes to his patriotism, because, like me, he loves this country so much. I was born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then communist country in Central Europe. My sister Ines, who is an incredible woman and a friend, and I were raised by my wonderful parents. My elegant and hardworking mother Amalia introduced me to fashion and beauty. My father Viktor instilled in me a passion for business and travel. Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflect to this day on me and for my love of family and America. From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generation to follow. I traveled the world while working hard in the incredible arena of fashion.
After living and working in Milan and Paris, I arrived in New York City 20 years ago, and I saw both the joys and the hardships of daily life. On July 28, 2006, I was very proud to become a citizen of the United States — the greatest privilege on planet Earth. I cannot or will not take the freedoms this country offers for granted. But these freedoms have come with a price so many times. The sacrifices made by our veterans are reminders to us of this. I would like to take this moment to recognize an amazing veteran, the great Sen. Bob Dole. And let us thank all of our veterans in the arena today and those across our great country. We are all truly blessed to be here. That will never change.
I can tell you with certainty that my husband has been concerned about our country for as long as I have known him. With all of my heart, I know that he will make a great and lasting difference. Donald has a deep and unbounding determination and a never-give-up attitude. I have seen him fight for years to get a project done — or even started — and he does not give up. If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you, he is the guy. He will never, ever, give up. And, most importantly, he will never, ever, let you down. Donald is and always has been an amazing leader. Now he will go to work for you. His achievements speak for themselves, and his performance throughout the primary campaign proved that he knows how to win. He also knows how to remain focused on improving our country — on keeping it safe and secure. He is tough when he has to be, but he is also kind and fair and caring. This kindness is not always noted, but it is there for all to see. That is one reason I fell in love with him to begin with. Donald is intensely loyal. To family, friends, employees, country. He has the utmost respect for his parents, Mary and Fred; to his sisters, Maryanne and Elizabeth; to his brother Robert; and to the memory of his late brother, Fred. His children have been cared for and mentored to the extent that even his adversaries admit they are an amazing testament to who he is as a man and a father. There is a great deal of love in the Trump family. That is our bond, and that is our strength.
Yes, Donald thinks big, which is especially important when considering the presidency of the United States. No room for small thinking. No room for small results. Donald gets things done. Our country is underperforming and needs new leadership. Leadership is also what the world needs. Donald wants our country to move forward in the most positive of ways. Everyone wants change. Donald is the only one that can deliver it. We should not be satisfied with stagnation. Donald wants prosperity for all Americans. We need new programs to help the poor and opportunities to challenge the young. There has to be a plan for growth. Only then will fairness result. My husband’s experience exemplifies growth and the successful passage of opportunity to the next generation. His success indicates inclusion rather than division. My husband offers a new direction, welcoming change, prosperity and greater cooperation among peoples and nations. Donald intends to represent all the people, not just some of the people. That includes Christians and Jews and Muslims. It includes Hispanics and African-Americans and Asians and the poor and the middle class. Throughout his career, Donald has successfully worked with people of many faiths and with many nations.
Like no one else, I have seen the talent, the energy, the tenacity, the resourceful mind and the simple goodness of heart that God gave Donald Trump. Now is the time to use those gifts as never before, for purposes far greater than ever before. And he will do this better than anyone else can, and it won’t even be close. Everything depends on it, for our cause and for our country. People are counting on him — all the millions of you who have touched us so much with your kindness and your confidence. You have turned this unlikely campaign into a movement that is still gaining in strength and number. The primary season — and its toughness — is behind us.
Let’s all come together in a national campaign like no other. The race will be hard-fought, all the way to November. There will be good times and hard times and unexpected turns — it would not be a Trump contest without excitement and drama. But through it all, my husband will remain focused on only one thing: this beautiful country that he loves so much. If I am honored to serve as first lady, I will use that wonderful privilege to try to help people in our country who need it the most. One of the many causes dear to my heart is helping children and women. You judge a society by how it treats its citizens. We must do our best to ensure that every child can live in comfort and security, with the best possible education. As citizens of this great nation, it is kindness, love and compassion for each other that will bring us together — and keep us together. These are the values Donald and I will bring to the White House. My husband is ready to lead this great nation. He is ready to fight, every day, to give our children the better future they deserve. Ladies and gentlemen, Donald J. Trump is ready to serve and lead this country as the next president of the United States.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.”
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