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Trump Campaign Says Melania Trump's Words Were Her Own

Donald Trump's campaign is making no apologies for language in Melania Trump's Monday night convention speech that was near-identical to a similar speech Michelle Obama delivered in 2008.

"From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise," Trump said in one of the similar passages. "That you treat people with respect."

Compare that to Obama's 2008 convention speech: "Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like, you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond; that you do what you say you're going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect."

Speaking to reporters Tuesday morning, Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort denied charges of plagiarism. "We're comfortable that the words that she used are words that were personal to her," he said, calling Trump's performance "a great speech."

"We don't believe there's anything in that speech that doesn't reflect her thinking," said Manafort, blaming the attention the similarities are generating on Hillary Clinton's campaign.

"It's just another example as far as we're concerned that when Hillary Clinton is threatened by a female, the first thing she does is try to destroy the person," said Manafort.

So far, the Clinton campaign has not commented on Melania Trump's speech.

In fact, the Melania Trump/Michelle Obama parallels were first pointed out on Twitter by journalist Jarrett Hill.

Manafort's dismissals were much more firm than the Trump campaign's initial statement, attributed to senior communications advisor Jason Miller:

"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."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.
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