Appearing on CNN’s New Day, this morning, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort insisted the blame for the stunning word-for-word similarities between portions of Melania Trump’s RNC keynote speech last night and a speech First Lady Michelle Obama had delivered at the DNC in 2008 lies squarely with presumptive Dem nominee Hillary Clinton.
Maybe not coincidentally, WaPo is reporting that a person close to Donald Trump says Manafort has responsibility for approving all speeches in the Trump campaign.
“[T]hese are common words and values and she cares about her family and things like that,” Manafort said in a satellite interview with CNN’s New Day host Chris Cuomo. “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.”
Over on NBC’s morning infotainment program, Today, GOP strategist Nicolle Wallace blasted Manafort’s stout-denial strategy. “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 [Melania] get in and 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.”
Last night’s GOP message, Make America Safe Again, was supposed to own the news cycle last night; instead it crumbled when people began talking about the identical bits in Melania Trump’s speech and Michelle Obama’s, and TV news operations began played them side-by-side.
The Trump campaign last night released a statement stressing she didn’t write the speech: “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,” said Jason Miller, senior communications adviser to the Trump campaign. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
Meanwhile, Twitter continues to feast on the controversy; #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes remains a top-trending topic worldwide this morning.