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Melaniagate: Was Trump’s Wife’s Plagiarism of Michelle Obama a Brilliant Publicity Stunt?

By: Amanda Blohm - Jul 20, 2016, 10:48 am
Melania Trump, moments after delivering controversial speech at the RNC on Monday night (Chicago Tribune)
Melania Trump, moments after delivering controversial speech at the RNC on Monday night (Chicago Tribune)

On the first day of the Ohio Republican National Convention (RNC), Melania Trump, Donald Trump’s wife, delivered a beautiful speech with poise and confidence. Unfortunately for her, the speech was later received with embarrassment, as a percentage of it seemed taken straight from an August 2008 speech by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Trump, the New York native, was formally selected as official GOP candidate for the presidential elections Tuesday, July 19, at the Republican National Convention in Ohio. He will be running for office with vice presidential nominee and governor of Indiana, Mike Pence. Trump won the candidacy with 1,725 delegates. And yet all people can talk about is his wife, and the memes and controversy she has generated.

There was much speculation in the beginning about whose fault it was. Melania herself and Trump campaign spokespeople assured the media she had written the speech herself, with little outside help. Other members of the campaign have defended Mrs. Trump, claiming the writers took ideas from her values and experiences, and wrote an original speech . Regardless of who wrote the speech, it was certainly considered a political blunder — but was it really?

Of course many of us would love to believe that it was simply a lazy and/or irresponsible writer or group of writers who chose to paraphrase another successful speech, hoping no one would notice simply because it was eight years old. But in this day and age, anything can be found on the internet, and someone had to have known they would have been caught. There is no way this was a mistake. But if it was not a mistake, what was the point of all this negative response?

Melania’s speech came a day after Donald Trump’s ghost-writer opened up about the 1987 best-selling novel The Art of the Deal. The story broke when the book’s ghost-writer, Tony Schwartz, was interviewed by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer in which he expressed his full regret for having written a book where he “put lipstick on a pig.” The article spread quickly and reflected poorly on Trump’s character —obviously.

Trump needed to dominate the news cycle, but in a way that would not permanently hurt his character. Additionally, the Trump campaign was having difficulty making Melania look like first-lady material and shy her away from her former model and jewelry designer image. By creating this controversy where the world was flooded with images and videos of side-by-side comparison with Michelle Obama, the sitting First Lady, the Trump campaign, whether intentionally or not, was able to elevate Mrs. Trump’s status to potential First Lady and make us consider other qualities she may have — something we otherwise may not have done.

Chair of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus said he would fire whoever was behind it, but no one from the Trump campaign was, making it all the more suspicious.

In addition to similarities between Michelle Obama’s speech, Mrs. Trump also used a line almost exactly like that of Rick Astley’s 1987 song “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The line has sparked several jokes, memes, and gifs online due to the near exactitude of the words of her own speech. Melania quite literally says that her husband will never “give you up” or “let you down.” Was this inserted into the speech to call attention to young voters? Who knows. What we do know for sure is that she is now all over the internet.

In the Art of the Deal, it is written that “Good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom-line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells.” With Trump, we can assume, anything is possible.

Source: The Telegraph.