Former KCMO mayor, professional writer react to possibly plagiarized Trump speech

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-19 19:50:49-04

Melania Trump continued to face criticism on Tuesday, a day after she delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention that some say was plagiarized.

Critics point to a speech Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 Democratic National Convention as the one Trump ripped off from.

Certain parts of the speech had word-for-word similarities to the speech Obama gave years ago.

See the similarities for yourself below, courtesy of Variety.
Melania Trump’s speech on Monday:
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, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life.
That is a lesson I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know is the only limits to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.
Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008:
And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.
And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

"Your word is your bond," said Trump, echoing the exact phrase Obama referenced in her speech.

"You work hard for what you want in life," Trump said during another segment, the same line used by Obama in a speech at the DNC.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort called the plagiarism claims "absurd" and said no one from the campaign team would be fired for the gaffe.

Despite the criticism against Melania Trump, former KCMO Mayor Charles Wheeler said questionable speeches were nothing new to the political world.

"You have got to be aware of the fact that you can't read every speech that's ever been given," he explained.

Wheeler has been involved in politics for more than 40 years, and he said around half the speeches he gave as KCMO mayor were written by speech writers.

"I like to have speech writers because they're bright people and they like to put down their own ideas," he said. "If I like it, I'll read them."

Wheeler pointed to a mayoral inauguration speech as one that he did not write himself.

He said in today's political world, with big presidential campaign teams, speech errors could easily slip through the cracks.

"Every day is dangerous in politics," explained Wheeler.

The Melania Trump speech gaffe had many wondering how that type of error could have happened on such a grand stage. However, professional writer Mary-Lane Kamberg, who lives in the metro area, said plagiarism is much more prevalent than many believe.

"It's not real easy, but it can happen," she said.

Despite the tendency for plagiarism cases to happen, Kamberg said she was surprised such an error happened at the Republican National Convention.

"If I were going to write her [Melania Trump's] speech, the first thing I would have done is look at other First Lady speeches," she explained.

Moving forward, Wheeler said he did not expect the possible plagiarism to significantly hurt the Trump campaign.

"What damage has been done is done and will all go under what happens tomorrow," he explained.



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