By Adele M. Stan / AlterNet

Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, at a campaign event. Why would she would lift material from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech? (Marc Nozell / CC BY 2.0)

This piece originally ran on AlterNet.

CLEVELAND—American reality television was born during a Hollywood writers’ strike. Apparently, at Donald J. Trump’s Republican National Convention, the writers are still striking. How else to explain Melania Trump’s heavy lift of material from the speech Michelle Obama made at the 2008 Democratic National Convention?

In case you’re waking to the news of the borrowed script from which the wife of the GOP’s presumptive nominee spoke, two passages from the remarks delivered by Mrs. Trump on the opening night of the Republican National Convention here Monday night were plagiarized from Mrs. Obama. You’d think a man as rich as Donald Trump says he is could pay for a more original speechwriter.

CNN broke down the two remarkably similar paragraphs:

Here is [Melania] Trump, 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 lives. That is a lesson that 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 that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

And here is [Michelle] Obama, on August 25, 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 to 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.”

It was the perfect capper to a day that failed to disappoint, kicked off with talk of pee-pee and false flag operations at the pro-Trump America First Unity rally convened by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and political dirty trickster Roger Stone, who told rally-goers that he was “Italian from the waist down.” He also apparently mistook himself for Hillary Clinton when he described her as “a short-tempered, foul-mouthed, greedy, bipolar, mentally unbalanced criminal.” The rally from Planet Out There was followed by a bit of verbal mayhem on the convention floor when anti-Trump delegates were denied a roll call vote for an amendment they had put forward that would have unbound delegates from their pledges to vote for Trump as the Republican presidential nominee when that formality takes place on Thursday night. That’s one way to unify the party.

In between delegates were treated to speeches from the closest things to celebrities Trump could coax to the podium: actors Scott Baio, remembered as the TV character Chachi, and Antonio Sabato, formerly known as a Calvin Klein underwear model. (Last week, Baio tweeted out a meme showing Hillary Clinton standing in front of a banner that, with her body blocking a vowel, appears to read as the most vulgar word in the English language regarding female anatomy. “This may be the best meme out there,” he editorialized.)

Working from the theme “Make America Safe Again,” the Republican Party also served up Rudy Giuliani to remind conventioneers that America was always under the threat a terrorist attack, and Rep. Steve King, who basically told Chris Hayes on MSNBC’s pre-game show that white people’s contribution to civilization outstripped those made by “all these other categories of people you’re talking about.”

Kind of makes Clint Eastwood’s empty chair routine from the 2012 Republican National Convention seem like a stroke of genius.


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