Melania Trump’s well-received speech Monday to the Republican National Convention contained two passages that match nearly word-for-word the speech that first lady Michelle Obama delivered in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention.
The passages in question focus on lessons that Mrs. Trump, the wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, said she learned from her parents and the relevance of their lessons in her experience as a mother.
They came near the beginning of her roughly 10-minute speech, which was otherwise distinct from the address that Mrs. Obama gave when her husband, Barack Obama, was being nominated for president.
In Mrs. Trump’s speech in Cleveland, she said: “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.”
In Mrs. Obama’s 2008 speech in Denver, she said: “And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like, 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, even if you don’t know them and even if you don’t agree with them.”
Lessons for future generations
Another passage with notable similarities that follows two sentences later in Mrs. Trump’s speech addresses her attempts to instill those values in her son.
“We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow,” Mrs. Trump said. “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.”
In the first lady’s 2008 speech, she said, “Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them onto the next generation, because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.”
Trump’s campaign responded in a statement that said her “immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech.” The statement didn’t mention Mrs. Obama.
“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,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said.
In an interview with NBC News taped ahead of her convention appearance and posted online early Tuesday, Mrs. Trump said of her speech, “I wrote it.” She added that she had “a little help.”
First major speech
The speech was a rare turn in the political spotlight on the first night of the Republican convention, intended to show a kinder, gentler side of her brash husband.
“If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you, he is the guy,” Mrs. Trump said in her highest profile appearance of the presidential campaign.
Donald Trump made a brief, but showy entrance to introduce his wife, emerging from shadows and declaring to cheers, “We’re going to win, we’re going to win so big.”
Mrs. Trump, 46, is well acquainted with the spotlight, as a model from the time she was a teenager in Slovenia and as the wealthy candidate’s third wife. The couple met in 1998, two years after she moved to New York during her professional career.
Trump, whose maiden name is Knauss, sought to blunt some of the criticism he has faced on the campaign trail over perceived attacks on Muslims and Mexicans, among other groups.
An inclusive president
“Donald intends to represent all of the people, not some of the people,” she said. “That includes Christians and Jews and Muslims, it includes Hispanics and African-Americans and Asians and the poor and the middle class.”
Trump gave a peek into the private man behind the bluster, saying she was attracted to his kindness and called his children an “amazing testament to who he is as a man and a father.”
Several delegates gushed over her first major speech.
“I think she’s going to be a great asset. She’s just magnificent,” said John Salm, a delegate from Virginia. “Honestly she reminds me of Jackie Kennedy.”
“I think everybody fell in love with her tonight,” said Deedee Kelly, a delegate from Omaha, Nebraska. “She seemed to talk from her heart, she really did.”
Trump also gave a hint of what she might try to do as first lady.
“I will use that wonderful privilege to try to help people in our country who need it the most,” she said, describing helping children and women as “one of the many causes dear to my heart.”
Mrs. Trump was the first of several family members and friends who will take the stage in Cleveland during the convention that officially kicks off the businessman’s general election battle with Democrat Hillary Clinton. But many of the party’s past and future stars are glaringly missing from the lineup, underscoring the concerns Republican leaders have with closely aligning themselves with Trump.
Melania Trump capped an unconventional list of speakers on the first night, which included decidedly non-A-list celebrities Scott Baio, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Willie Robertson of the reality show Duck Dynasty.
More in line with traditional political convention fare were former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and senators Tom Cotton and Joni Ernst.
Melania Trump praised the delegates and party members who did attend.
“You have turned this unlikely campaign into a movement that is still gaining in strength and number,” she said.
During a passage in her speech thanking members of the military for their service, she singled out World War II veteran and 1996 presidential candidate Bob Dole, who was in attendance at the Cleveland arena.
Watch Melania Trump’s full speech:
For the full story please visit CBC.ca