On day one of the Republican National Convention, Melania Trump was busted stealing a portion of her speech from the speech Michelle Obama gave to the Democratic National Committee in 2008. The Trump campaign’s response has run the gamut, with them spouting out lie after lie to explain away the obvious plagiarism. Finally, the speechwriter herself is talking and what she has to say isn’t good for the Republican nominee.
Meredith McIelver issued a statement on Wednesday identifying herself as the speechwriter responsible for Melania’s plagiarized speech. She describes herself as “an in-house staff writer at the Trump Organization” and as a “longtime friend and admirer of the Trump family.”
McIver then goes on to explain just how she got her hands on Michelle Obama’s words:
In working with Melania Trump on her recent First Lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share 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 met.
McIver just admitted what we all knew, that she plagiarized the damn speech. But being the pathological liar that he is, Trump, his supermodel wife, and his campaign have been lying through their teeth for days. They swore up and down that they didn’t plagiarize Michelle’s words, and now the person who did it has just confessed. But hey, it isn’t like we didn’t already know that two whole paragraphs in Melania’s speech were straight up stolen from Michelle’s.
The bigger shocker revealed in Ms. McIver’s statement is right here: we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share the American people. A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama.
For eight years, Republicans have been filled with so much hate for Michelle that they foam at the mouth every time her name is even mentioned. Conservatives have hurled every nasty racist insult they can think of at her. And now, they’ve come to find out, their new queen-to-be “has always liked” Michelle and is “inspired by her.” Beyond that, when Melania was asked what “messages she wanted to share with the American people,” her answer was clear: Michelle Obama’s message.
There is also a possibility that Trump violated federal law by having a Trump Organization employee write the speech in the first place and the fact that the statement was written on Trump Organization letterhead.
Lawrence Noble, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, explained, that if the Republican nominee “willingly and knowingly” used corporate resources for the writing of a political speech, he broke the law. “On the face of it, this looks like a corporate violation,” said Noble. And that is “a violation of federal law. It can result in civil penalties to the corporation and the campaign.”
“It’s very hard to tell exactly what’s going on,” Noble said, “but it’s possible that what they’re doing is paying in advance for the use of staff.” The whole situation is tricky and it all depends on when McIver was paid. If she was paid by the campaign in advance, then no harm, no foul.
But the company letterhead is still problematic. “The Trump Organization should not be providing anything to the campaign that it’s not getting paid for,” Noble said — including letterhead. Also, McIver ever once in the statement identified herself as working for the campaign as required by law, just the corporation.
You can read the letter in its entirety here:
Featured image via Win McNamee/Getty Images