Compare Melania Trump’s speech with Michelle Obama’s

Donald Trump’s wife has been criticised for ‘copying’ Michelle Obama’s 2008 address

Melania Trump earned praise for her speech on Monday at the opening night of the Republican National Convention, but her remarks almost immediately came under scrutiny when striking similarities were discovered between her speech and one delivered by Michelle Obama at the Democratic convention in 2008.

The phrases in question came when Melania Trump who told NBC News earlier Monday that she had written her speech herself was discussing her upbringing in Slovenia and her parents.

Here are the relevant passages.

Melania Trump, Monday night: "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 lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons onto the many generations to follow. 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."


Michelle Obama, in her 2008 speech: "Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and 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.

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children and all children in this nation to know that the only limit tothe height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

Melania Trump: "I was born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then-communist country in Central Europe. My sister, Ines, who is an incredible woman and a friend, and I were raised by my wonderful parents. My elegant and hardworking mother, Amalija, introduced me to fashion and beauty.

My father, Viktor, instilled in me a passion for business and travel. Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflects to this day on me and for my love of family and America.”

Michelle Obama in 2008: "And I come here as a daughter raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother's love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters."

Jarrett Hill, a Twitter user whose biography describes him as an interior designer and journalist, apparently first noticed the resemblance between Melania Trump’s speech and Michelle Obama’s in 2008.

Trump campaign reacts

A spokesman for the Trump campaign called the speech a success, but suggested her writers may have mistakenly injected some borrowed language.

“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,” Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications advisor, said in a statement.

But Melania Trump said in an interview taped with NBC’s Matt Lauer before her speech that she went over it just once in advance. “I wrote it with as little help as possible,” she said.

Privately, one Trump aide said the campaign was going over the passages from the two speeches, while another blamed the news media and Democrats, suggesting they were fanning flames.

As the controversy broke out, Donald Trump posted on Twitter: "It was truly an honour to introduce my wife, Melania. Her speech and demeanor were absolutely incredible. Very proud!"

Some of Donald Trump's staunchest defenders had trouble explaining the overlapping language. On CNN, Jeffrey Lord, a commentator and Trump supporter, called it "a serious thing" and recalled the plagiarism scandal that helped sink vice president Joe Biden's 1988 presidential bid. Lord speculated that a staff member on Donald Trump's campaign was responsible and added that whomever it was should be let go.

Sarah Hurwitz, a White House speechwriter who composed Michelle Obama's 2008 address, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Speeches by political spouses tend to be deeply personal and even idiosyncratic because they often describe specific qualities and anecdotes that only a husband or wife would know.

Melania Trump’s speech was praised by Republicans as one of the evening’s high points. It was one of the first such public forays by a woman who is deeply private.

New York Times and Reuters