This story is more interesting and important than people seem to realize.
What do we know happened?
Melania Trump gave a speech at the Republican National Convention. The speech was long-anticipated, and long in preparation. It was considered by the Trump campaign to be a significant moment, where Melania Trump would be introduced to the public and her speech would humanize and soften the image of Donald Trump.
The speech, during and immediately after Melania Trump gave it, was considered a success. She is not a professional politician or otherwise a public speaker by profession. So, her smoothly delivered and well-received speech was a solid success for the campaign.
It was in the interests of Hillary Clinton’s campaign to undermine that success if possible. Denigrating Melania Trump for her looks, for the banality of the speech, and so on, were expected, and such mocking and insulting responses were of course under way during and immediately after the speech.
Soon after the speech, how soon exactly is a point worth of investigation, the word began to circulate that Melania Trump had plagiarized language from a speech by Michelle Obama. In fact, there were some phrases which were identical. “You work hard for what you want in life, your word is your bond, you do what you say” and “you treat people with respect”.
These phrases are not particularly noteworthy.
They are boilerplate, even banal.
Yet Melania Trump repeated them word for word.
These are all undisputed facts.
What are the open questions?
What possible advantage was there for Melania Trump to repeat Michelle Obama’s speech word for word?
Michelle Obama’s words could be restated equally effectively with other phrasing. Using identical words makes no sense.
There is no motive here.
Nonetheless, it is barely possible that Melania Trump knowingly repeated those words from Michelle Obama’s speech, thinking no one would notice, even though tweaking a few words would have removed any hint of plagiarism.
Perhaps Melania Trump is lazy, dishonest, and very stupid, and so indifferent to the success of her husband’s campaign that she knowingly plagiarized Michelle Obama’s language.
That is one possible explanation.
It is not convincing.
However, there is more.
There is also a passage in Melania Trump’s speech which is a direct quote from a Rick Astley song.
In other words, Melania Trump’s speech was Rickrolled.
To those who do not recall the fad from 2008 or so, Rickrolling was providing a link which purported to be something else, but in fact linked to a Rick Astley video, in fact, the very video whose lyrics were included in Melania Trump’s speech.
The only plausible explanation for the presence of these lyrics is that someone who participated in the drafting of Melania Trump’s speech intentionally included the Rick Astley lyric, apparently as a signal the speech had been “hacked.”
The Rick Astley lyric is a mocking gesture, a flipped bird from the saboteur.
There is no rational explanation for Melania Trump knowingly or intentionally including the Rick Astley lyric in her speech.
Someone who knew what the Rick Astley lyric represented included it in the speech.
Others have suggested that the so-called plagiarism might have been intentional sabotage by someone involved in the speech-writing process, e.g. this article.
In fact, there is no other plausible explanation.
Either Melania Trump knowingly included the plagiarized Michelle Obama quotes in her initial draft — or she did not.
It is barely possible she did, though highly unlikely.
Either Melania Trump “Rickrolled herself” — or she did not.
That is impossible.
It makes no sense at all.
Melania Trump’s speech was intentionally sabotaged.
What no one seems to have pointed out is that the production of this speech, like any important written work product, is a heavily documented process.
Melania Trump and the Trump campaign claim that she wrote the speech. What precisely that means is not clear. What it likely means is that she drafted it, or prepared an initial draft. What is certain is that whatever draft Melania Trump prepared was then circulated for comment and editing. That is the standard process. It is inconceivable that she wrote something in private and then gave the speech to the Republican National Convention with no input or review by anyone else. To the contrary, we know that the speech was the result of a long drafting process and was rehearsed repeatedly, and probably revised and refined during that process as well. Some number of other persons were involved in the process.
The documentary evidence within the Trump campaign, including email traffic and draft versions of the speech, will show with certainty at what point in the drafting process the Michelle Obama language was added, and when the Rick Astley language was added.
The documentary evidence within the Trump campaign will also with certainty identify the person who added each of these items to Melania Trump’s speech.
If Melania Trump’s initial draft did not include this language, when was it added?
Who put it in?
What was that person’s motive?
Did this person act alone?
Was this a dirty trick done in collusion with others?
If so, with whom?
Did the person who added the language send email or text messages which can be examined to determine whether that person tipped off anyone to break the plagiarism story?
Did that person breach any confidentiality agreement or other agreement with the Trump campaign?
Is that person subject to a lawsuit?
How did someone hostile to Trump, willing and able to sabotage Melania Trump’s speech, penetrate the campaign organization undetected?
Are there other moles in the campaign organization?
These are all questions that need to be answered.
Determining precisely who was responsible, what their motives were, and how they did it, would be the kind of questions a real news media would be asking.
Instead, they are acting like the Democratic operatives they are, presenting the consensus anti-Trump narrative, while failing to note that it makes no sense.
Bottom line: A calculated attack was made on Trump’s campaign, his wife’s speech was hacked and an important success was turned into a circus and an embarrassment for the campaign.
We need to know what really happened.
We may be in for a season of more serious dirty tricks.
This episode should be thoroughly investigated.
A speechwriter has come forward claiming the Michelle Obama language was included in error.
This does not explain the Rickroll, however.
64 thoughts on “Melania Trump’s Speech Was Intentionally Sabotaged”
I watched the speech. Gracious and lovely she is. I did not watch the Obama speech so I would not have recognized anything from it. It’s absurd to think that they would plagiarize anything, when they’ve got plenty resources to draw from.
The idea that moles are working within has certainly occurred to me, and I cannot imagine that someone on the team has not thought likewise. The competition are rats, subversives and revolutionaries. Trump’s team need to factor this in. While we speculate as to who the guy in the White House is, I can’t help but think he must have better than average background information. Brandon Darby is already too well known, but there must be other guns for hire.
Rickrolling. Wow you learn something new every day.
It’s so subtle, yet so outlandish, that it might just be one of the more perfect pranks. It kind of reminds of all those conspiracy theorists who believe Bob Dylan plagiarized his songs in such a way as to send secret codes and messages.
If it really was a prank, I doubt the perpetrator(s) could stay hidden for long. The pressure to take credit for such a grand heist will be too great.
She was talking?
I like the song a lot. At least she didn’t say, “For the first time in my adult life I have been proud of my country.”
Now, that would have been news !
I just can’t get excited about it.
It is obvious someone added those phrases to Melania’s speech. I also doubt it was Melania. I also doubt the Trump campaign did this to itself (as some master level troll effort), it is simply not the campaign’s style (it is blunter than that). I am sure there must be an internal review going on if Mr. Trump is as mad as was reported.
What is a sure fire way to get a speech covered ad nauseum by the media? Copy a paragraph from Michelle Obama’s “incredible” speech form 2008. The “Master Persuader” (as dubbed by Scott Adams of Dilbert fame) knows exactly what he is doing.
The media, the analists, the bloggers, etc. all got Rick Rolled by that speech. It’s all in there. Not sabotaged, planted. I can’t believe they can keep doing this with straight faces.
Brilliant! The landslide is coming.
For further reading see http://blog.dilbert.com/
So this is a “scandal” but Obama having a ghostwritten “autobiography” was not? Much ado about nothing.
As an aside, I bet Elizabeth Warren would die for those high cheekbones.
Trump learns quickly. This mole will be outed well in time for a major embarrassment at the Democrat’s convention. HRC will be playing catch-up from now till Election Day. Even some of her supporters will think this as unconscionable sabotage. She will be compared, unfavorably, with Nixon.
Sabotage/mole is possible, it’s happened before. An employee of a media firm employed by Bush/Cheney2000 stole debate prep materials and tried to hand them over to the Gore campaign.
What the Trump campaign should say now is something like this:
“Melania Trump is a mother deeply devoted to her family and her children. Though we have significant differences with Michelle Obama’s politics and policy, we credit her with being a mother just as deeply devoted to her family and her children. There are only so many ways one can express such devotion, so it is no surprise that these two mothers would use similar language, as most of the mothers in America would also say about their dedication to their children and families.”
This whole thing is much ado about nothing intrinsic, but if there was actually deliberate sabotage of the speech, that is serious.
The media asked her if she wrote it herself before the speech.
I sense a “You’re fired!” moment coming soon. And, I hope, a public unmasking.
Surely the writers involved are already known to the campaign, and the MSM could find out and publish their name(s). If they wanted to. Which they probably don’t. The question is why the Trump campaign hasn’t outed them already and publicly fired them.
One other thing that I haven’t seen mentioned is how the lifting got noticed. Who possibly remembers the original speech in question? Who knew about the plagiarism and tipped off the press?
Michelle Fields, at one time a purported “conservative” columnist, used her access to create A FAKE narrative that she had been brutally manhandled but DJT’s campaign manager.
Now another person who reasonably s/w/could be expected to have been a conservative, sabotaged ML’s debut speech.
DJT needs a sweep through the campaign team similar to Erdogan’s sweep through Turkey.
Net net? Win for Trump.
I don’t see why the simpler explanation won’t suffice. Michelle Obama and Melania Trump are not writers. Each wrote an unimaginative speech using the same sort of stock cliches any non-writer might use. There was some overlap in the stock phrases they reached for.
Seems pretty ho hum to me.
If I were Trump and there is a mole I wouldn’t fire the mole for some time. Fire them now and they are a hero. Keep them hanging on and fire them for incompetence when you need to grab a media cycle.
If this indeed turns out to be the act of a hostile mole, someone’s going to have to change their name and disappear.
I wonder if they considered this beforehand.
“Who knew about the plagiarism and tipped off the press?”
That’s an interesting thought.
Firing the mole now would make him a hero and we would see a series of articles like “What I saw at the Trump campaign.” The guy who wrote his books is now trying to cash in that way.
My entire fb feed was filled with pictures of Melania side-by-side with Michelle.
Pictures >>> Words
It was $20m in free media exposure. It dominated the news cycle. It got written up here. It got written up everywhere.
That’s an advantage. How many times does the new guy you’re golfing with tap in birdies and eagles before you start noticing that he might be good at this?
The idea that this is a gigantic self-troll for publicity is also conceivable, and actually impressive if true.
“You work hard for what you want in life, your word is your bond, you do what you say” and “you treat people with respect”.
oh for God sake … no way Michelle Obama was the first person to utter those words in a speech … so in fact Mrs. Trump possibly copied from someone, just not Michelle Obama …
The balance of probability favors a mole.
Trump brags, “I will appoint the best people.”
I absolutely expect moles. Much of the GOPe will be actively working for Hillary. Never doubt it.
At first I thought, who would even bother to read a speech by Michelle Obama, let alone copy it.
Maybe sabotage makes sense….
water board the mole
It really doesn’t matter at all…..the only things that matter are:
Mrs Trump….or Bill Clinton………Trump 1 Clinton 0
One had to say that Mrs Trump is intelligent, vibrant, loves her husband and is gorgeous.
A man would need to be intelligent, persuasive, have his life together to win over this woman. This makes Donald look very good !!
Mrs Clinton is not intelligent (proven by her historical and recent actions), is not vibrant and does not love her husband (and the feeling is mutual from Mr Clinton)…a man would only have to have access to some kind of authority and position to win her over…..this makes Bill look very bad…and he does look very bad lately…as well as Mrs Clinton…
Trump 3 Clinton 0
The democrats are trying mightily to make the next 1st lady’s speech look bad….that makes them look desperate and very bad….
Trump 4 Clinton 0
Game Set Match !!!
Was Melania “extremely careless” in the writing of her speech? – is yes, that would let her off the hook!
Trump will figure it out. May god help whoever did it.
If Michele’s ’08 speech was ever archived online, anti-plagiarism software would have no difficulty picking up the similarities.
Using these programs is standard practice for Profs and teachers, and anyone else who has an interest in (avoiding) plagiarism (authors especially).
[Comment deleted by Jonathan. We don’t tolerate comments advocating violence or harm against anyone, even if such comments are made in jest. See our comments policy for details.]
No one else has commented about this, so I’ll bring it up.
There’s a better than even probability that the speech was hacked… literally. Today, any sort of collaborative operation is done on computers, which are linked together. Get the password of one of the editors, and someone outside the campaign could easily do this. Some other commenters have used the word “prank”, and this has the marks of an MIT vs Cal Tech level prank with the Rickroll quote being a dead giveaway.
It is probably not anyone officially associated with the Hillary campaign or the DNC… in fact, thinking about it, it sounds like a Berniebro sort of stunt.
I’m sure there was “no intent” to plagiarize — so no problem! +1
I don’t believe it was done by pro-Trump folk, but … it can be used to make Trump look even better.
Melania in the news, lovely & smart & in-love with husband +1
I would NOT be surprised if it wasn’t really a BerniBro non-campaign hacker (or identity theft hacker) who did it. -1
It would be a plus to have the campaign look more at honesty — Obama & Biden, who were actual candidates, were also plagiarizers,
and Hillary is very truth-challenged. +1
Overall, Trump plus Melania 3 neverTrump 1
“Much of the GOPe will be actively working for Hillary. Never doubt it.”
–Subotai Bahadur (10:13 pm)
I doubt it. A lot of people are, as a college buddy of mine would phrase it, “leaping out of their chairs for the chance to sit on their hands” during the fall campaign but they’re not “actively working for Hillary and never would”. After all, Trump and his followers were bragging for months that they didn’t need the Republican party’s loyalists, that we were all crooks, blah blah blah. So you Trumpetarians should be glad that we’re sidelining ourselves and you should be eagerly taking up the burdens of the fall campaign, the leg work, the soliciting of donations to a billionaire (ha!), and keeping the party in being between elections. Yet you’re upset that your betters whom you’ve repeatedly insulted for the past year aren’t staying in harness for your boy.
Belly-achers disgust me. Now grow up and get busy.
P.S. No Sub Otais for Trump have knocked on my door yet. They haven’t even left a doorhanger. Ain’t gonna make full Otai by being slackers!
There IS, of course, one very highly placed individual in the Trump campaign with long-standing ties to the Clintons, both personal and financial.
The Trump campaign is infused with the 4chan /b spirit if trolling. I say it was deliberate. It was designed to elicit a response, which it did, because it was designed to be irresistible.
1. TV media put up split-screen side by side comparisons between the Michelle and Melania speeches. This has the effect of elevating Melania to Michelle’s rank.
2. It attracted attention from people who ordinarily wouldn’t be paying much attention to the first day of a convention, and introduced people to Trump’s attractive, sympathetic wife. Ot also disarms female jealousy – women won’t feel threatened by her because they can now always tell themselves that she’s just not that bright.
3. It took attention away from the never-trump machinations on the floor earlier in the day, including the walkout of the Iowa and Colorado delegations.
4. It makes team Trump look slightly bumbling (although on not *too* important a matter), which undermines the Trump as Hitlerite supervillian narrative. Would a hard core racist lift from an Obama speech?
5. It makes Trump’s detractors look grasping and a bit petty, any excuse to criticize. It was always going to be fluff and happy talk.
6. Trump sets the agenda, not producers, not editors.
For me, confirmation of the con wasn’t the Astley lyric, but Christie’s response, which was something like – the 93% of the speech that was hers was just fine. Pure trollface.
To me the lack of original sourcing is still the big red flag here. Where’s the story, the blog, even the tweet where someone says they ran the speech through some comparison software, names the software, shows their results, etc.? Where’s the equivalent of Charles Johnson’s gif obliterating the phony Bush TANG memo? This is 2016. Everything’s documented, yet this somehow swept the entire MSM practically within moments of the speech being over, with no decent explanation of how it started. I don’t see anything that makes sense other than that someone involved with the speech was fully aware of the lifting and tipped off a bunch of reporters, probably through some sort of journo-list type channel.
The secondary question is why the Trump campaign hasn’t revealed who was responsible yet. Is it because they hired some big name Dem speechwriter and don’t want to admit it? Is the same writer responsible for Trump’s speech tomorrow and they don’t want to deal with revealing that while the convention is going on?
Who gives a hoot about which cliches a politician’s wife reads off a screen?
Cui bono? Lewandowski. One of his left behinds doesn’t like Manafort.
Previous commenter says the kerfuffle “swept the MSM”. Yes, and Fox News as well. Megyn was positively giddy over the story, repeatedly showing side-by-side comparisons of the speeches. She was better at it than CNN, the reliable Democratic Party media outlet. Fox coverage has been awful: we are treated to endless talking heads ( always including Megyn, who I like) rather than the speeches. I’ve had to switch to CNN repeatedly to hear the speakers because the Fox superstars prefer to have their mugs on camera. For a loyal Fox viewer, this has been exasperating.
“Wavy Gravy” @07190813p drills the Three!
She should have mocked another line from a different MO speech instead:
“Unlike some who do not seem to even like a country that has given them success they could not have dreamed of anywhere else, I have been proud of America from the first day I arrived as a legal immigrant.”
“The idea that this is a gigantic self-troll for publicity is also conceivable, and actually impressive if true.”
No it’s not. It’s extremely funny though.
“The secondary question is why the Trump campaign hasn’t revealed who was responsible yet.”
They would make him a hero to the left. The Trump book author is now trying to cash in on the same issue.
If anyone is going to be fired, it will be when the cameras are off.
“Yet you’re upset that your betters whom you’ve repeatedly insulted for the past year aren’t staying in harness for your boy.”
Amusing example of the leftist playbook about uneducated Trump supporters.
Your attitude, even if held by nominal Republicans, will be remembered for a long time.
I believe Donald Trump himself added both the Michelle Obama and Rick Astley material. He is on record of tweeting his praise for Michelle’s speech years ago. He probably likes the Astley song too.
No one will be fired for the prank because the top guy himself did it.
Donald Trump is not a smart man.
Donald Trump drew eyeballs away from Mrs. Smith’s attack on Hillary Clinton by calling in an interview to O’Reilly.
Donald Trump spent a half hour talking about himself while his VP waited backstage to be introduced. Then after introducing Pence, Trump left as he couldn’t stand to be around him.
Donald Trump is not a smart man. Or he’s deliberately throwing the election to Hillary.
What I learned today; no point reading comments on a Trump article. Just too many cultists trolling the web. “no publicity is bad publicity”, all you hear from the brain dead.
At this point, all I have to say is Comey is right. The fix is in, it has always been in, it will always be in. “No indictmemt” is what you say when you clearly see reality.
Consider this headline at “The Hill —
“Trump: Media spent more time analyzing Melania than FBI spent on Clinton”
If you want to destroy the credibility of the press, the press’ reaction to Melania’s speech goes a long way to achieving it.
The culprit has confessed.
She says Melania admires Michelle.
I doubt this will quiet the hysteria.
“Trump Org. writer takes blame for Melania Trump’s speech; asserts she offered resignation but was rejected.”
Observation via TCTH —
…Well today, the speech writer (a woman of course) sends in her resignation and Trump forgives her and states everyone makes mistakes. Trump tweets the woman’s letter saying she tried to resign and Trump forgave her. The woman apologized.
Trump tweets that “the best part was Melania got a full day of media publicity, which is good if you believe all publicity is good publicity”.
Troll job an a half. Now the media is forced to talk about Trump treating women with respect.
Classic Trumpster giving to the media!
Whether it was sabotage or not, Trump has shaped the public’s perception that he did a Troll job to the media.
Even if he did not.
Plus his small non-professional staff got a lot of publicity.
Plus, John Fund who I like, is complaining is complaining about Trump being “cheap.”
I noticed she stumbled a couple of times, like this is not what I rehearsed. How possible is it to hack
the teleprompters? The speech could have been changed at the very last minute, not giving anybody a chance to review it before Mrs. Trump took the podium. I thought she did an incredible job for not being a public speaker and since I never listened to Mrs. Obama’s speech it didn’t make any difference to me.
The real question, for such simple common phrases, is: so who did Michelle Obama “copy” them from?
(I.e. – there’s only so many ways to say some things, and of those ways only a few sound best. The likelihood of two or more people, giving similar speeches, to use the same phrase is actually pretty high.)
Rather than a sign of sabotage, this was a sign of incompetence by rookies on the Trump staff. Every other political campaign uses software to screen major speeches for possible plagiarism, or even the appearance of plagiarism. If Trump had hired more people with experience, Melania’s speech would have been vetted, which would have caught both Obama’s words and the Rickroll words.
I am not as disturbed by the plagiarism as I am by what it tells us about Trump and his staff — they think they know everything, and therefore do not ask for advice when they really need it.
“and therefore do not ask for advice when they really need it.”
Yes, the GOP is well equipped with losers to provide advice.
What I’m curious about is whether this arguably minor incident caused anyone, left or right, to view Melania’s speech in a way that wasn’t indicative of their position on Trump in general, or — and this is more important — to change their mind from pro- or anti-Trump to the reverse.
Me, I think the whole business has mostly been turned into a partisan football — but I’m inclined to read it as the Trump campaign cleverly saying or doing something which will draw a strong negative response from his enemies, and a quiet chuckle from his friends. He’s done it before, and it’s a successful pattern for gaining publicity, support and votes.
“… a sign of incompetence by rookies on the Trump staff.” No. The Rickroll is the tell.
“… to change their mind from pro- or anti-Trump to the reverse.”
Probably not. What it tells me is Trump’s operation is not throughly vetting its people, even those close to his wife.
Or, it means his operation is engaged in a very strange act of self-trolling.
Probably the former.
Some low information voters who might have liked Melania and her speech might not vote for Trump as a result of the fouled delivery and promotion of the speech.
I know of a woman with a professional job who was undecided in 2000 and voted for Gore because in the days before the election she saw Tipper Gore on TV and decided she seemed nice, so she voted for Gore. Such things happen.
“she saw Tipper Gore on TV and decided she seemed nice, so she voted for Gore. Such things happen.”
If the speech writer’s story is true, that may be what happened here.
I do think Trump’s operation still has much to learn but that is also an attraction.
Wavy Davy Says:
July 19th, 2016 at 8:13 pm
As an aside, I bet Elizabeth Warren would die for those high cheekbones.
Nah, Warren is Native American-they all have high cheekbones!
“Wavy Davy Says:
July 19th, 2016 at 8:13 pm
As an aside, I bet Elizabeth Warren would die for those high cheekbones.
Nah, Warren is Native American-they all have high cheekbones!”
Stay classy America, stay classy. ;)
PenGun telling us to “stay classy” :)
“PenGun telling us to “stay classy” :)”
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