Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort blamed Hillary Clinton for plagiarism allegations against Melania Trump over her Republican National Convention speech.
“There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These were common words and values that she cares about her family and things like that. I mean, she was speaking in front of 35 million people last night, she knew that,” Manafort told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday morning.
“To think that she would be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy. I mean, it’s so — I mean, this is, once again, an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down. It’s not going to work,” Manafort said.
Cuomo pushed back, saying the speeches are strikingly similar.
“I’m not making a big deal of it. I know everybody’s talking about it this morning, but I don’t think it’s an allegation. It’s not some suggestion without proof. I think it happened. I don’t understand why the campaign doesn’t just own it and say people borrow phrases, that’s what happened, and move on,” Cuomo said.
“You know, there was certainly a collaboration — certainly there’s no feeling on her part that she did it, you know. What she did was use words that are common words and just expect her to — to think that she would do something like that, knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night, is just really absurd,” Manafort said.
Melania made quite an impression on opening night of the RNC, delivering a speech that was praised by pundits on both sides of the aisles. However, the passionate speech in support of her husband quickly sparked outrage across social media because segments of the oration were found to strongly resemble words uttered by Michelle Obama eight years ago at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success,” Trump campaign senior communications advisor Jason Miller said in an official statement.