Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How Melania Trump came to copy Michele Obama

The NY Times has a follow-up story this morning reporting on the process that led up to Melania Trump's plagiarized speech. Ms. Trump, and perhaps one of her trusted friends, rewrote the draft from two professional speech writers. Apparently, Ms. Trump did not use the free plagiarism detection software used by speechwriters.

The Times report includes commentary on the organizational failures in the Trump campaign that permitted this scandal. On top of it all, the plagiarism from the first African-American first lady did not play well among blacks and especially black women. See the NY Times article for more on that. Here are snippets from the Times.

“The most cardinal rule of any speech-writing operation is that you cannot plagiarize,” said Mr. Latimer, the Bush speechwriter, who is now a partner at Javelin, a communications firm. If you do, he said, “you lose your job.”

That is unlikely to happen in the Trump campaign, which revolves around a freewheeling candidate with a fierce resistance to admitting error.

It was Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser, who commissioned the speech from Mr. Scully and Mr. McConnell — and praised their draft. But Ms. Trump decided to revise it, and at one point she turned to a trusted hand: Meredith McIver, a New York City-based former ballet dancer and English major who has worked on some of Mr. Trump’s books, including “Think Like a Billionaire.” It was not clear how much of a hand Ms. McIver had in the final product, and she did not respond to an email on Tuesday.

Research for the speech, it seems, drew them to the previous convention speeches delivered by candidates’ spouses.

The Trump campaign declined to say who or how many senior campaign officials read or reviewed the speech. But when Ms. Trump and her staff had finished revising the speech, virtually all that remained from the original was an introduction and a passage that included the phrase “a national campaign like no other.”

The last phrase is most certainly true.

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