It would be unfair to ask Melania Trump to write her own speech for the Republican convention. As the third wife of a billionaire 25 years her senior, she was not selected for her oratory skills. And can you imagine what it would be like to start in a Slovenian village and go on to marry the loudest asshole in America? Between Sevnica and Cleveland, she probably did some things she did not at first enjoy. My point is that Melania is through working,1 and we should leave her to peacefully wait out this last year of her husband’s life. In the meantime, hire a ghostwriter. Newt Gingrich would do it for lunch, I bet, and you could get somebody really good for money. This brings us to the question of whom the Trump campaign got—because, as you’ve no doubt heard, a portion of Melania’s speech sounded just like Michelle Obama’s speech from 2008.
Here’s a fun comparison of the passages in question:
If that’s not striking enough for you, I also enjoy this simultaneous playback version. What’s impressive here, besides Melania preparing and memorizing a speech in more detail than her husband usually does, is that she copied something so recent. We’re not talking about Harriet Stanwood Blaine before the Mugwumps, here. She lifted the sitting first lady’s speech from the convention before last. Surely, whoever did this might reasonably have expected to be caught.
It would follow that they would have an explanation in place. But this morning, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort opted for TFD.2 He called accusations of plagiarism “just really absurd.” He implied Hillary was behind them, trying to take down Melania as she does all women who challenge her. It’s true the secretary has been competing with Slovenian models her whole life. Still, it’s not as though the Clinton campaign were the only people who noticed the plagiarism. I would call it a wave of recognition.
At press time, Robert Costa is on Twitter saying the Washington Post was shown an internal memo telling Trump surrogates to say Hillary was “back at it” and frame criticism of Melania as an attack on women. He also cited the memo as the likely source of Chris Christie’s curious argument that “93 percent of the speech is completely different than Michelle Obama’s speech.” It’s only plagiarism if you copy the whole thing, which is why Turkish Batman ends with him stopping a bar mitzvah.
Anyway, we seem to have committed the Trumpthropomorphic Fallacy again, just hours after we identified it. If Trump or the operators of his campaign experienced interiority like we do, they would have assumed someone in the entire Washington press corps might recognize the first lady’s speech from eight years ago. But the Trump campaign does not experience normal interiority, and they can’t believe we saw through their ruse. It was nice to see a crowd of Republicans cheering wildly for stuff Michelle Obama said in 2008, anyway. Maybe they just needed a hot white lady to say it.