Staff Writer Takes Blame for Melania Trump Plagiarism

By Kenrya Rankin Jul 21, 2016

As the Republican National Convention (RNC) continues to unfold in Cleveland this week, so does the game of presenting new reasons for Melania Trump delivering a speech with sections culled from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign initially released a statement saying that the speech was inspired by the aspiring first lady’s life. Then campaign manager Paul Manafort told CNN that she simply used “common words.”

Yesterday (July 20), Trump Organization in-house staff writer Meredith McIver posted a statement apologizing for the “confusion and hysteria” caused by her “mistake.” The statement appears in full below:

My name is Meredith McIver and I’m an in-house staff writer at the Trump Organization. I am also a longtime friend and admirer of the Trump family.

In working with Melania Trump 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 Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. 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 Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant.

Yesterday, I offered my resignation to Mr. Trump and the Trump family, but they rejected it. Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences.

I asked to put out this statement because I did not like seeing the way this was distracting from Mr. Trump’s historic campaign for president and Melania’s beautiful message and presentation.

I apologize for the confusion and hysteria my mistake has caused. Today, more than ever, I am honored to work for such a great family. I personally admire the way Mr. Trump has handled this situation and I am grateful for his understanding.

Melania Trump’s speech wasn’t the only one criticized this week for appropriation. Many noted that Donald Trump Jr.’s RNC speech on July 19 seemed to borrow heavily from an article written by F.H. Buckley. But Buckly told Vox that he was actually a principal writer for the speech.