Tuesday Reads: Disastrous Day One of the Republican National ConventionPosted: July 19, 2016
After the first night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, there’s good news and bad news for the Trump campaign. The bad news is that the big story today is that Melania Trump’s speech last night was basically a light edit of Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008 with a few paragraphs thrown in to make it look like it was about Donald Trump. The good news for Trump is that this story is distracting the media from the racist, misogynist, and xenophobic content of the rest of the Convention speeches.
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign came under new scrutiny Tuesday after it became apparent that part of Melania Trump’s primetime address Monday night at the Republican National Convention bore conspicuous similarities to a speech delivered by first lady Michelle Obama in 2008 at the Democratic convention.
The plagiarism charges have cast a shadow over Trump and his campaign on the second day of the convention here in Cleveland, where Republicans are making the case to a skeptical country that the celebrity billionaire —the most unconventional and impulsive major-party standard-bearer in modern history — could be a credible and steadfast leader at a time of terrorist threats abroad and senseless tragedies at home.
Trump’s campaign and allies rushed to defend Melania Trump on Tuesday morning.
“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,” wrote senior communications advisor Jason Miller in a statement. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.” ….
Melania Trump had previously indicated that she wrote the speech herself.h. Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort pretty much threw Melania under the bus by sticking to the story that she wrote it herself.
On Tuesday morning, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort denied that there had been any plagiarism, despite clear similarities between the two speeches. Some parts of the speeches appeared to be the same, word for word.
“There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These were common words and values that she cares about, her family, things like that,” Manafort said on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday morning. “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.”
The sections in the video are only the beginning. There are similarities to Michelle Obama’s speech throughout. Even the final lines claiming “he will never turn his back on you” were borrowed from Michelle. Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort pretty much threw Melania under the bus by sticking to the story that she wrote it herself.
Oh yes, and Manafort also blamed Hillary for the mess the campaign is in. Think Progress: Trump Campaign Manager On Melania’s Plagiarism: It’s Hillary’s Fault
Donald Trump and his campaign are scrambling to address the apparent plagiarism in Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention speech, which replicated specific language from First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Trump’s former rivals-turned-surrogates Ben Carson and Chris Christie both refused to acknowledge the plagiarism.
Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort went even further. He not only denied the speech was plagiarized, but accused Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton of spreading the storybecause she hates other women.
“This is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton she seeks out to demean her and take her down,” he said. “It’s not going to work.”
Manafort repeated the sexist attack in a press conference a few hours later. “When Hillary Clinton is threatened by a female, the first thing she does is try to destroy the person,” he told reporters.
There are now rumors that Trump is furious with Manafort. Perhaps he’ll be looking for a new campaign manager soon–right in the middle of the RNC.
Wow! That’s some heavy duty misogyny there.
Some folks on Twitter have been digging up tweets from Mr. and Mrs. Trump that suggest plagiarism is nothing new for these two.
And check this out:
And what about the parts of Melania’s speech that weren’t plagiarized? Isaac Chotiner at Slate: Melania Trump’s Pathetic Attempt to Humanize Her Husband.
The traditional role of the first lady is, in the clichéd language of our politics, to “humanize” her spouse. Melania Trump may in some sense appear to be nontraditional for the wife of a Republican nominee. But in her speech on Monday night she set for herself the same goal: showing a side of Donald Trump that voters had not seen. What she delivered, according to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, speaking from the convention floor, was the speech of the night. The CNN panel gushed. Hugh Hewitt got excited on MSNBC. But don’t believe it: Melania’s speech was just as morally questionable as Rudy Giuliani’s Mussolini-not-so-lite speech that preceded it.
The most striking feature of Melania’s speech was the lack of specifics: Perhaps because her husband is a gruesome demagogue rather than a halfway-decent person, there were no humanizing anecdotes or sweet stories to tell. The candidate’s public personality is clearly more than an act; those who know him have nothing truly nice or personal to say about him, just as he has nothing nice or personal to say about them. (People he likes in his orbit tend to be “absolutely terrific.”)
I noticed that last night. Melania didn’t provide a single specific anecdote to illustrate her husband’s supposed generosity, kindness, and other positive qualities she claims he has.
This morning Ivanka Trump told the AP that her dad wants her to make sure everything in her speech introducing him on Thursday is in her own words.
Could there be trouble between Trump’s third wife and his children from first wife Ivana? Joy Reid tweeted today that Melania refused to attend the introduction of Mike Pence and his family because she was angry with Donald’s children for pushing him to name a VP candidate that he didn’t really want.
Reid also cited a Daily Mail article that suggests trouble in the Trump extended family: ‘She can’t talk, she can’t give a speech’: Donald Trump’s ex-wife Ivana slams his current spouse Melania and suggests she would make a better First Lady.
Trump’s first wife Ivana, who was married to the Republican presidential front runner from 1977 to 1991, said Melania ‘can’t talk’ and ‘can’t give a speech’.
The 66-year-old – who had three children with the billionaire – reportedly said she would have made a good First Lady and backed her ex-husband to be a ‘great President’.
Ivana was told at a recent party in New York that she would have been a good First Lady.
According to the New York Daily News, she laughed and replied: ‘Yes, but the problem is, what is he going to do with his third wife?’
Referring to Melania Trump, Ivana continued: ‘She can’t talk, she can’t give a speech, she doesn’t go to events, she doesn’t want to be involved.’
Ivana also said Trump would be a successful President and backed him to win the Republican nomination.
‘He’ll be a great President,’ she said. ‘He’ll surround himself with the right people. He was always meant to be a politician.’
She added that she had backed Trump to run for President in the 1980s, but ‘then he got involved with Marla Maples and America hated him’.
ROFLOL! Most of America still hates him.
I’m going to wrap this up soon, because I’m completely exhausted after driving nearly 1,000 miles over the past two days. But I want to include stories about one more speech from last night.
If you missed Rudy Giuliani’s crazy address to the convention, you really need to watch it. You can do that at Slate, where Fred Kaplan writes about it: What Has Happened to Rudy Giuliani? He used to be a pragmatic moderate. Now he’s spewing nonsense.
Exactly 20 years ago, as the Boston Globe’s New York bureau chief, I interviewed Mayor Rudy Giuliani in his office in City Hall. The 1996 Republican Convention was going on in San Diego, and I asked him why he wasn’t there. “It’s not my sort of thing,” he replied. “I’m much closer to moderates in both parties than to extremists in either.”
That was a long time ago….
Self-righteous and bombastic as he has become in recent years, I have never seen him—I have never imagined him—huffing and puffing with such fire and brimstone. Or spewing such rank nonsense.
Boasting that he changed New York “from the crime capital of America to the safest large city in America,” he said, “What I did for New York, Donald Trump will do for America.” Stipulating that he played a role in cutting crime in New York (and I think he did, to some extent), what did he do? Most pertinent, he appointed William Bratton as his police chief, who tracked crime with daily computer statistics (before then, there were only quarterly statistics), then instantly redeployed cops to neighborhoods where crime was spurting. He also arrested people for committing small crimes, and many of those people, it turned out, were wanted for large crimes. Other things were happening in society, too. But these techniques and the surrounding circumstances have no application to the fight against global terrorism. Nor does the sophisticated approach that Giuliani and Bratton brought to urban disorder have any resemblance to Trump’s attitude to anything.
Then Giuliani delved into the shallowest realm of Trump’s attack on Obama’s (or Obama-Clinton’s) counterterrorism policies—the refusal to call our enemy by their name: as he bellowed it, “Islamic extremist terrorism” (words that drew an enormous ovation). Obama has addressed this critique: It is silly to believe that, if only he uttered those three words (like “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!”), the bad guys would turn and run—or anything different would happen whatsoever. “If they are at war against us,” Giuliani roared, “we must commit ourselves to unconditional victory against them.” What does that mean? What does the United States or the West have to do to achieve that goal? I ask Giuliani and others who speak in this language to put forth a three-point outline, a 100-page treatise—some idea of what new policies, tactics, or strategies they have in mind. I honestly don’t know, and I’m pretty sure they don’t either.
Kaplan carefully dissects the entire Giuliani diatribe. The piece is well worth reading.