comscore Trump seeks to steady GOP convention after plagiarism charge | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Trump seeks to steady GOP convention after plagiarism charge

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, greeted his wife Melania after introducing her during the Republican National Convention, Monday, in Cleveland.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    In this combination of photos, Melania Trump, left, wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, spoke during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, and Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, in Aug. 2008. Melania Trump’s well-received speech Monday to the Republican National Convention contained passages that match nearly word-for-word the speech that first lady Michelle Obama delivered in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention.

CLEVELAND » After a chaotic start, Donald Trump is under pressure to steady his Republican convention as a plagiarism charge and other unforced errors threaten to overshadow GOP efforts to unify behind him.

Still, barring last minute complications, the unorthodox billionaire will end up tonight as the Republican Party’s official White House nominee.

This week’s four-day convention is Trump’s highest-profile opportunity to convince voters that he’s better suited for the presidency than Democrat Hillary Clinton. But the rocky start raises fresh questions about his oversight of his campaign, which gives voters a window into how a candidate might handle the pressures of the presidency.

The plagiarism accusations center on Monday night’s well-received speech by Trump’s wife, Melania Trump. Two passages — each 30 words or longer — matched a 2008 Democratic convention address by Michelle Obama nearly word-for-word.

Trump’s campaign managed only to keep the controversy alive on Day 2 of the convention by insisting there was no evidence of plagiarism, while offering no explanation for how the strikingly similar passages wound up in Mrs. Trump’s address. The matter consumed news coverage from Cleveland, obscuring Mrs. Trump’s broader effort to show her husband’s softer side.

“This is totally blown out of proportion,” Trump adviser Paul Manafort told The Associated Press. “They’re not even sentences. They’re literally phrases. I was impressed somebody did their homework to think that that could be possibly done.”

Conventions are massive organizational undertakings, with thousands of delegates to manage and dozens of speakers to oversee. But the weeklong gathering pales in comparison to the scope of a president’s responsibilities as head of the U.S. government.

Republican leaders hoping to leave Cleveland with a strong show of party unity also found themselves answering unwelcome questions. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said he “probably” would have fired his own speechwriters under similar circumstances and admitted the matter was a distraction.

It was unclear whether the controversy would have any bearing on how voters view Trump. The businessman has survived numerous politically perilous moments that might have doomed other candidates.

Manafort, a longtime Republican operative, has emerged as a controversial and pivotal figure in Trump’s Cleveland operations. He led efforts to successfully tamp down a rebellion on the convention floor Monday, though the campaign still had to contend with angry outbursts from anti-Trump delegates.

The campaign chairman also upended Republicans’ unity message by slamming Ohio Gov. John Kasich in his home state. He called Kasich “petulant” and “embarrassing” for not endorsing Trump or attending the convention, drawing quick condemnation from other GOP leaders worried about angering the popular governor of one of the most important election states.

The centerpiece of this evening’s convention program will be the roll call vote making Trump’s nomination official — a once-unthinkable scenario for Republicans who spent months dismissing the real estate mogul as a mere sideshow.

Typically in both parties, the roll call is heavy with ceremonial flourishes, good cheer and puffery about the virtues of each state. This time, it’s also another opportunity for discord to be heard.

Dissident delegates from several states planned to insist on abstaining or backing other candidates, said Regina Thomson of Colorado, a leader of a group calling itself Free the Delegates.

Following the vote, a parade of Trump’s former campaign rivals, Republican leaders who are lukewarm about his nomination and more family members are scheduled to take center stage. Republicans will be closely watching House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has endorsed Trump despite disagreeing with him on numerous issues.

Tiffany Trump, the candidate’s 22-year-old daughter from his marriage to Marla Maples, and Donald Trump Jr., his eldest son and an executive vice president at The Trump Organization, were scheduled to speak. Both were expected to highlight a more personal side of their father than is rarely seen in public.

Mrs. Trump was praised for her success in doing just that, despite the plagiarism charges. She spoke of her husband’s “simple goodness” and his loyalty and love of family — while noting the “drama” that comes with Trump in politics.

However, her speech did contain several striking resemblances to Mrs. Obama’s. One example was when she said her parents taught her “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.”

Mrs. Obama, in her 2008 speech, said she was raised to believe that “you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that you do what you say you’re going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect.”

Other sections of Mrs. Trump’s Trump speech also tracked closely with the first lady’s remarks.

AP writers Kathleen Hennessey and Steve Peoples contributed to this report.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (84)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

    • He will lose to the “cattle” type voters we have in Hawaii who are still stuck in plantation days, but win by a landslide nationally. There goes your money for your train. He is more fiscally responsible than Obama and the $16 TRILLION national debt.

      • Can I ask what are basing that opinion on or track record. Last, I looked, and what public record shows, is that he has four bankruptcies totaling close to a half-billion dollars. Some of his deals were far from being fiscally conservative, that is to say, taking financing via junk bonds, and thus almost preventing from the very on-start, from it ever being profitable. So, can you tell me why you have this vantage?

        • In January 2015 a group of Haitians surrounded the New York offices of the Clinton Foundation. They chanted slogans, accusing Bill and Hillary Clinton of having robbed them of “billions of dollars.”
          Two months later, the Haitians were at it again, accusing the Clintons of duplicity, malfeasance, and theft. And in May 2015, they were back, this time outside New York’s Cipriani, where Bill Clinton received an award and collected a $500,000 check for his foundation. – via National Review

        • The National Review is a Republican right wing smear machine. Besides what does this have to do with Melania Trump using quotes from things My Little Pony and Michele Obama said?

        • New speeches coming up. Listen closely and you may be able to catch something. UFC Dana White may have quoted someone. “Make America Safe Again”

        • 1/2 a BILLION ??? Try again. How about $7 BILLION in bankruptcies !!!! Not to mention the unpaid loans and stock that ended up worthless. Trump is a scheister of incredible magnitude !!

    • Klastri, the English language is full of common idioms, catchphrases, expressions and sayings that are commonly used in speeches. The fact that someone uses some in a speech that were once used by someone else does not make it plagiarism. As a lawyer or former lawyer, you should know that plagiarism occurs when a writer uses language that is identical to or closely imitating the copyrighted work of an author without authorization or by not crediting the original author. From what copyrighted work of Michelle Obama did Mrs.Trump plagiarize?

      • Sorry, Ronin, but to suggest that this is anything else but a conscripted plagiarism is just not factually true. As reported by the Washington Post this morning, these were not phrases or themes lifted, but specifically two passages, which were identical, and each, 30 words in length. The odds were almost beyond any statistical reproach, in short, the odds of this NOT being plagiarism are less than one in a trillion, yes that’s a trillion.

      • A copyright has nothing to do with this, so I’m not sure how you fabricated that from thin air. No copyright is needed to establish the fact of taking credit for the work of another person. You apparently don’t understand the meaning of the word plagiarize. It is simply the act of taking credit for the work or ideas of another. Period.

        The speech was clearly plagiarized, by any sense of the word.

        • Hillary Clinton used her role as secretary of state to work as Secretary for the Clinton Foundation, utilizing State Department staff for foundation purposes and bringing foundation staff dangerously close to State Department business, new documents released on Tuesday show.

      • Bro, what your doing is exactly what the Chump campaign is doing and its not working. Thy are trying to deny its the speech was pauperized and going as far as blaming the Dems. Its not working and its getting worse. What they needed to do is find some poor scapegoat and throw that person under the bus and move on. Instead they are denying that the lines were lifted at all and blaming the Dems for the uproar. I mean who sends Chris Christie out there to say that 93% of the speech was fine (dude you admitted that 7% of the speech was plagiarized). Instead of ending the issued the plagiarism issue still has legs. The news clip showing Melania and Michelle side by side with Melania speaking nearly word for word what Michelle said is still posted on the web and getting airplay on TV. Now the media is digging to see if Melania lied when she said she wrote the speech herself like she said. If she did write it, then she is the plagiarizer if someone else wrote it, she is a liar. See how this works? Day two of the convention just like day 1, plagiarism charge rules the roost, media types digging in, RNC floundering with a response, Dems sitting on the sidelines, some laughing, others thinking there for the grace of god go I.

      • Nothing could be as bad as proclaiming to the world in Mrs. Obama’s speech that her husband becoming president is the “first” time she was proud of him.
        So you see we can drag up ugly stuff in everyone, so let’s just give it a rest shall we? Ann Romney’s speech in 2012 used similar phrases. Laura Bush’s 2000 convention speech also was similar. Let’s get to the real beef!

        • If Mrs. Obama had said that, you might have a point. But obviously, she didn’t say that.

          Lying doesn’t really help your argument.

        • Well, klas, since what she actually said was even worse, then he does indeed have a point..

        • Hillary Clinton used her role as secretary of state to work as Secretary for the Clinton Foundation, utilizing State Department staff for foundation purposes and bringing foundation staff dangerously close to State Department business, new documents released on Tuesday show.

        • Lol, I like to see her ride those tinnie clown bikes with that short skirt.

      • Ronin006 no sense trying to reason with these libs because Mrs. Trump is so much smarter than them…any of them can speak 5 LANGUAGES…very successful career…LEGAL immigrant who followed the LAW…etc. She will be our First Lady!

    • Hillary Clinton used her role as secretary of state to work as Secretary for the Clinton Foundation, utilizing State Department staff for foundation purposes and bringing foundation staff dangerously close to State Department business, new documents released on Tuesday show.

  • While she appears genuine, it does legitimately beg the question of her (Ms. Trump) veracity. First, her claims that she is a college graduate, which has been thoroughly investigated by Slovenian authorities as being false (she dropped out her freshmen year) and now the specific claim she hand wrote the speech in question. For those who adhere to statistics, the odds of this NOT being plagiarism are less than one in a trillion. Two passages, each about 30 words in respective length, exactly the same–again the odds are less then one in a trillion– sort of stretches both the imagination and all dutiful credibility.

    • Facts don’t matter to Trumpsters.

      Everyone knows that.

      Neither does the Constitution or civil liberties.

      Vote Trump! End The Constitution! Authoritarianism Forever!

      • I certainly hope your acerbic wit will be in attendance next week during the democratic convention, if for no other reason than to give some visual substance to your frequent assertion that you’re not a Hillary fan.

  • They’re still talking about this on cnn, msnbc, and all the rest of the progressive left-wing outlets. It’s too funny. They are so envious of Trumps’ wife they just can’t stand it. Biden, and many others on their side, have actually plagiarized stuff, and they blew it off like it was no big deal..Let it happen to a Republican, let alone a beautiful one, and the left is apoplectic. Trump is going to win in a landslide. I have many friends on the left who all feel the same way. They know Hillary is totally corrupt, and would never vote for her. Their belief in their country far exceeds their religious affiliation with their political party , and let’s face it, that’s what the left is today. Democrats are the most dangerous threat facing our nation. Far more than ISIS, and lately they have made it perfectly clear that laws only apply to the little people on the right. If you’re a Democrat, you have to know that your time is extremely limited. You put-up two old white guys. A socialist, and a totally corrupt hag.

    • Tuesday: Make America Work Again

      The Obama years have delivered anemic economic growth, the lowest labor-force participation rate in 38 years, and job-killing regulations and legislation like Obamacare. These policies are crushing middle-class families, and a Hillary Clinton presidency would merely be an Obama third term that would deliver the same poor results. Donald Trump is a successful businessman with a solid record of creating jobs and the experience we need to get America’s economy up and running … and get Americans working again…
      http://convention.gop/tuesday-speakers

        • On Tuesday, the party’s star-crossed efforts to project harmony will fall to some of its best-known leaders in Washington, including Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker from Wisconsin, whose embrace of Mr. Trump has been halting at best. Though he said as recently as Monday that Mr. Trump was not “my kind of conservative,” Mr. Ryan will take the stage to make the case that the alternative, a second Clinton administration, would be far worse.

          Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, is also expected to lend a dutiful hand, keeping Republicans’ near-universal disdain for Mrs. Clinton front and center.

        • sarge22…..great job irritating them with the TRUTH and showing them the BIGGER PICTURE!

      • If you have something of relevance to submit, we certainly welcome a diversity of thoughts. On the other hand, to meander into subjects that have no nexus to the specific topic at hand, is at best, non-productive, and at worse, takes away from a meaningful discourse.

        • The topic is the GOP convention and to continue a meaningless discourse is certainly non-productive. Today’s schedule of events is relevant and provided for those interested.

        • Then, Sir, why don’t you be courteous and post those comments to an article that specifically addresses those topics. The topic above is directly related to Ms. Trump and plagiarism.

      • “lowest labor-force participation rate in 38 years” is simply due to demographics as the baby-boomers age out of the work force and life expectancy increases. Are you blaming Obama for the post-WWII surge in the birthrate?

    • hiLIARy attacking a woman over an everyday note between a married couple? Don’t you see the pattern on trying to destroy a woman.
      hiLIARy has American Blood on her hands that will never wash away…not to mention the FBI confirmed she is a LIAR and her reckless action by placing American security at risk with her secret server.

    • Hillary thinks she is above the law and lies to Congress. She was negligent in Benghazi. She also is in bed with wall street and bankers who prey on poor people with ridiculous interest rate when you miss a credit card payment. She cannot be trusted except for the benefit of the Clintons.

      • You’ll not get the smurfs here to defend their crook of choice, they’re focused on trying to convince themselves Trump is worse. What a ridiculous race to be involved in, seeing who can hit bottom first. Go Johnson!

  • Is someone (or more) in Trump’s camp a mole and thus an effort to sabotage his candidacy? What is the chances of discovering the portion of a speech made by Mrs Obama eight years ago and having it magnified by the press? Not a Trump fan but dislike bias and bullying toward anyone. Yeah, it has been said “many times many ways”, politics aren’t for the fain hearted!

    • There are free online plagiarism tools now. Teachers and professors use them as a part of their everyday work. So, the chances of discovering plagiarism is pretty good.

      The sad thing is that the words she copied do pretty much ring true for most Americans, and cross party lines. The campaign should have just owned up to it.

    • They don’t need a mole. His inept advisers are leading him to the gallows. There are so many sarges and lesparks who are so blind to the obvious they’re all headed over the cliff. Blind mice by the thousands in a campaign that is self destructing. So ignorant that they can’t come up with a original speech. I find the scew ups so entertaining that the rnc should be on the comedy channel.

  • If Trump is seeking to steady anyone re: the plagiarism charge, he needs to turn to Joe Biden, former Democratic Sen. John Walsh and Barry Obama. I’m sure they can assist him.

  • I think there should be a “getting to know you” session with the two potential “First Spouses” (Melania Trump and Bill Clinton) and a moderator. Let’s hear what they have to say and how they envision their respective roles in the White House should their spouse become President, and let’s do it without a “team of writers” or other people assisting them. Just honest, up front, sincere, and unscripted thoughts.

    • Slick Willy is too nasty. NO woman should get near Slick Willy unless accompanied by a bodyguard. Maybe even more than one. No matter how old or how young. Remember, Slick Willy has frequent flier miles on the ‘Lolita Express.’

    • Yes I am sure Chump appreciates this kind of FREE publicity rather than actual news coverage of other things like …… the Republican Convention.

  • The Trumps define the concept of diminished expectations. Melania Trump’s speech was inauthentic, used complex language she stumbled over despite being obviously well rehearsed (thereby coming off as non-credible), and full of platitudes and generalizations that largely fell flat and short of providing any sort of understandable and believable insight into Trump the man. It came off as extensively ghost written, aduously presented and, if you were listening as opposed to being mesmerized by her face, WHINY! Yes, it was courageous of her to get on stage. No, it was not good or substantive. How diminished must our expectations be when we consider that a home run?

  • “Generally, every word that’s uttered at a national convention undergoes intense scrutiny before it’s loaded into the teleprompter,” said Ryan Williams, a former spokesman for Mitt Romney. Even a speech the campaign itself hadn’t produced, such as Rudy Giuliani’s high-energy warning about the dangers of terrorism, would be carefully vetted — making the cribbing in Melania Trump’s speech all the more incredible.

    Jim McGrath, a former speechwriter for George H.W. Bush, said it was “impossible to understand how that can happen.”

  • Ahhhh, now it is all coming to the surface. In short, Ms. Trump did it all on her own–The Trump campaign turned to two high-powered speechwriters, who had helped write signature political oratory like George W. Bush’s speech to the nation on Sept. 11, 2001, to introduce Ms. Trump, a Slovenian-born former model, to the nation on the opening night of the Republican National Convention.

    It did not go as planned, and it has eclipsed much of the action at the party gathering in Cleveland, where delegates on Tuesday night formally nominated Mr. Trump for president.

    The speechwriters, Matthew Scully and John McConnell, sent Ms. Trump a draft last month, eager for her approval.

    Weeks went by. They heard nothing.

    Inside Trump Tower, it turned out, Ms. Trump had decided she was uncomfortable with the text, and began tearing it apart, leaving a small fraction of the original.

    Her quiet plan to wrest the speech away and make it her own set in motion the most embarrassing moment of the convention: word-for-word repetition of phrases and borrowed themes from Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic convention eight years ago.

  • Hillary Clinton used her role as secretary of state to work as Secretary for the Clinton Foundation, utilizing State Department staff for foundation purposes and bringing foundation staff dangerously close to State Department business, new documents released on Tuesday show.

Scroll Up