(Donald Trump appearing with his wife Melania Trump at a campaign event)
The first day of the RNC in Cleveland was certainly eventful. From the last ditch effort of the #NeverTrump movement to derail Trump’s nomination to the rampant fear-mongering of the convention’s bizarre speaker lineup, the day threw into sharp relief the divisions within the GOP as well as the rather desperate tactics that the party is leaning on to propel its reality star nominee to the White House this November.
As part of this most unconventional convention, Trump himself made an appearance to introduce his wife, Melania Trump, who held the primary speaking slot for the evening.
This was an unprecedented move. The presumptive nominee for both parties has hitherto appeared only on the final night to formally accept the nomination. And while Trump’s campaign may say otherwise, last night’s shakeup of convention tradition doesn’t stem from Trump’s self-styled spontaneous approach to politics. The breach of tradition instead reflects the party’s inability to fill the speaking slots with high-ranking republicans, who have exhibited historically high levels of reluctance to appear at the convention (or to vocally support the presumptive Republican nominee at all).
But what made the evening’s closing speech most remarkable was the fact that Melania’s speech was plagiarized.
In what may amount to one of the most embarrassing moments of Trump’s entire presidential campaign, Trump’s wife repeated nearly verbatim two paragraph’s from the First Lady’s 2008 DNC speech.
Melania’s speech last night including the following words:
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 generations to follow, because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.
Following the speech, journalist Jarrett Hill was quick to point out the stolen lines:
— Jarrett Hill (@JarrettHill) July 19, 2016
While Melania herself likely had nothing to do with the speech’s composition, this blatant plagiarism is yet another example of Trump’s flippant and juvenile organization, which has struggled to exercise the basic functions of a presidential campaign. How his handlers and aids could have overlooked something so egregious is beyond comprehension.
Following the revelations, Trump and his surrogates have offered many excuses, from somehow blaming Hillary Clinton to pointing out that English is Melania’s second language. Mistakes this lazy and unprofessional, however, result from an inward-looking campaign that has prided itself on its lack of political orthodoxy. In the end, there is no one to blame but Donald Trump himself.