Rumors of plagiarism have been swirling around Melania Trump’s now-infamous speech since her appearance last night at the Republican National Convention. Critics argue it bears eerily similarities to an address delivered eight years ago at the Democratic National Convention by now-first lady Michelle Obama, while others argue any overlap is likely a coincidence.
Assessing whether allegations of outright theft have merit, Dr. Juris Pupcenoks, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Marist College, told our sister publication, Hudson Valley, “I’m still trying to make up my own opinion what exactly is happening there… But there were a lot of similarities.”
James Booth, Secretary of the Orange County Republican Committee, also acknowledged that, while he did not watch Melania’s speech, “Obviously there’s some controversy surrounding whether she lifted comments from Michelle Obama’s,” though he chose not to comment further on the address itself nor its implications for Trump’s campaign.
Pupcenoks, who teaches courses on international relations and comparative politics, doesn’t think it will make much of a dent in the Donald’s convention and candidacy, saying, “I think this is a minor issue… people will forget by the end of the week. It’s gonna be argued back and forth. Was it intended? Was it not? Trump’s campaign will say no, Obama supporters will say yes.”
It’s essentially par for the course, given myriad controversies surrounding both Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “Think about this election campaign,” Pupcenoks advises. “Both leading candidates are quite unpopular. There are a lot of things that both of them have been criticized [for] all along. So something that Melania Trump, who’s not a politician herself, said, I don’t think that will stay in the public discourse for much longer.”
Much ado about nothing or Melania’s major gaffe? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.