Melania Trump was inspired by…Michelle Obama!

The quicksand of plagiarism has got Melania Trump.

WrittenBy:Sandip Roy
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Does the Trump campaign know Salman Khan? They must. After a few days of fervent denials and dogged accusations of media bias and Clinton conspiracy, they have found their Ashok Singh.

Ashok Singh, if you remember, was Salman Khan’s loyal and trusted driver who came forward years after that 2002 hit-and-run case to tell the world he was the one behind the wheel that fateful night, not beloved Bhai.

Now that plagiarism charges swirling around Melania Trump’s debut speech at the Republican National Convention are proving hard to dismiss, the Trump campaign has discovered its own in-house knight in shining armour – Meredith McIver.

McIver is the loyal staff writer for the Trump Organization and co-writer of some of Trump’s book and she has come forward as the fall-gal to take the blame. She says she put those lines that sound suspiciously like the ones Michelle Obama used four years ago into a draft of the speech. She was the one behind this wheel, as it were.

Of course chances are McIver was indeed the actual writer.  Big speeches like this are usually written by speechwriters, usually several of them. The problem is until the shit hit the fan, the Trump campaign was trying to claim this particular speech was mostly Melania Trump’s own handiwork. It was claiming all those overlaps as “common words and values”. Now, it suddenly has discovered McIver’s fingerprints all over it. This is known as trying to have your cake and eat it too.

But wait. Did Meredith McIver actually make it worse for poor Melania Trump?

Consider what she said in her mea culpa.

“In working with Melania on her recent first lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people…A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama…. Over the phone she read me some passages from Michelle Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the speech. I did not check Michelle Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps as well as to Michelle Obama. No harm was meant.”

The Trumps must hope this will allow the campaign to move on.  But McIver might have just revealed more than she ever intended.

She has admitted that Melania Trump is an admirer of Michelle Obama’s. Whoa!

Donald Trump has been at the forefront of all those campaigns to discredit everything about the Obamas and the legitimacy of their claims to the White House. He has happily played along with conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth certificate. The foundation of Trump’s success has been to denigrate the Obamas as much as it is about his broadsides against Hillary Clinton.

The rightwing website Conservative Post has said, “Having Melania as a first lady would give us a chance to earn back some of the respect Michelle has cost us since her husband took office. Since then, Michelle has humiliated us in front of world leaders, spent millions of our tax dollars on her own vacations, and publicly slammed our country.” It has looked forward to the day when “classy” Melania Trump will be in the White House and “Michelle will crawl back to whatever hole she came from.” And now Melania Trump is revealed as a closet admirer of Michelle Obama! Her big speech before millions was more inspired by Michelle Obama than it was inspiring.

Even worse McIver has claimed that it was Melania who read out those inspiring passages from Michelle Obama’s speech. That pretty much robs Melania Trump of any cover. She cannot pretend that she did not know those were Michelle’s words anymore, that she read them in all innocence. After all,it was not McIver who was inspired by Michelle Obama, it was Melania herself.

In another world, in another America, this could have played out differently. Melania Trump could have stunned everyone by openly quoting Michelle Obama. It could have been a non-partisan human moment in an otherwise bitter vicious petty-minded campaign. It could have been an opportunity for Melania Trump to show that despite deep ideological differences, this was nothing personal, that there could still exist a moment of shared humanity, that ultimately Melania Trump and Michelle Obama shared something in common.

But instead, as many pointed out, it played out as one more instance when a white person decided to profit off the labours of a black person and gave her no credit for it. All in the service of making America great again.

And for those with an eye for irony there was irony aplenty as pointed out by this Instagram post.

“The irony of a Slovenian immigrant with a thick accent regurgitating a black woman’s speech while being cheered by a room full of people who believe black people and immigrants are ruining this country.”

But something good might come out of all this embarrassment for someone. Jarrett Hill, the 31-year-old laid-off journalist who first tweeted the resemblance between the two speeches is grappling with his newfound celebrity. He’s the one who tweeted “Melania stole a whole graph from Michelle’s speech”, a tweet that’s now been shared over 20,000 times.  He’s juggling appearances on CNN with interviews with the BBC and The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. None of the journalists at those redoubtable outlets with all the resources at their disposal were quick enough to remember that Michelle Obama speech and spot the similarities. It took a laid-off journalist sitting in a Starbucks to do that. And sweetest of all, the television station that laid him off ended up having to call him to request an interview.

Perhaps Jarrett Hill will get a job out of this. He would deserve it. “I would love to get a great job from this, doing something that I love,” he told The Los Angeles Times.

If he does, then Donald and Melania Trump can console themselves by remembering that they helped at least one person get a job. It’s a small step towards making America great again.


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