Today show found itself in the eye of the storm this morning, when Night 1 of the RNC became all about portions of Melania Trump’s keynote speech that appeared to have been plagiarized from a speech First Lady Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 DNC.
“No surprise, we’re talking about the speech Melania Trump delivered to this convention last night. What we didn’t realize is that we would be talking about a couple portions of that speech,” Lauer said this morning on Today.
Former Obama chief speech writer Jon Favreau is among those accusing the Trump campaign of plagiarism in the speech:
Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort denied there had been any “cribbing” of Michelle Obama’s speech because “these are common words and values and she cares about her family and things like that. She was speaking in front of 35 million people last night; she knew that. To think that she would be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy. I mean, it’s so — I mean, this is, once again, an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down. It’s not going to work.”
Today went to town:
“Let’s keep this in perspective. This is no Watergate; there is no evidence she herself is responsible for any plagiarism,” Savannah Guthrie said.
GOP contributor Mike Murphy suggested the “campaign speech writing team of Xerox and Konica” likely won’t be with Trump any more, calling it the end of a “very bad first day,” but that the important speech is Donald Trump’s on Thursday.
“And, if that begins with ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, we’re in trouble,” snarked Lauer.
GOP strategist Nicolle Wallace strongly disagreed with Manafort’s stout-denial strategy. “There clearly aren’t press folks at the table making strategic decisions, because you never subject yourself to that. You get in and out of controversy as quickly as possible, because a spouse is largely immune from the kind of partisan attacks that come at a political figure.
“Instead of letting her get in an out of this quickly, they’re guaranteeing the campaign is going to spend all day talking about whether she plagiarized,” Wallace scolded, adding, “There is no doubt in my mind the person who put those words on paper was well aware of what Michelle Obama said.”
Trump ignored the controversy this morning on Twitter:
Here is the Today show tarmac interview with Donald and Melania, before she delivered her speech: