CLEVELAND (CBSNewYork/AP) — A speechwriter for Donald Trump’s company said Wednesday she made a mistake and apologized for using passages from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech in the Republican party convention speech delivered by Melania Trump.
In a statement issued by the campaign, Meredith McIver took the blame but made it clear that Mrs. Trump knew the passages were from the first lady’s speech.
“A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama,” McIver says of Mrs. Trump. “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.”
A Facebook page under McIver’s name released the full statement to social media.
McIver, co-author of some of Donald Trump’s books, said she offered to resign but the Republican nominee for president refused to accept her resignation.
“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 meant.”
McIver was described in the statement as an “in-house staff writer at the Trump Organization.”
The passages in question came near the beginning of Mrs. Trump’s nearly 15-minute speech.
In one example, Mrs. Trump said: “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.”
Eight years ago, Mrs. Obama said: “And 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.”
There were similar overlaps in a passage dealing with conveying to children that there is no limit to what they can achieve.
Mrs. Trump’s address was otherwise distinct from the speech that Mrs. Obama gave when her husband was being nominated for president.
On Monday, Melania Trump claimed to have penned the speech mostly on her own.
“I wrote it — with a little help as possible,” she told NBC News’ Matt Lauer.
While many Republicans came to Melania Trump’s defense, former top Obama adviser David Axelrod called the speech “flat out plagiarism.”
Earlier Wednesday, Trump said the plagiarism charges surrounding his wife’s speech were not necessarily all bad.
He said in a tweet, “Good news is Melania’s speech got more publicity than any in the history of politics especially if you believe that all press is good press!”
Trump blamed the press for harping on the issue, saying the media “is spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania’s speech than the FBI spent on Hillary’s emails.”
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