Ben Carson, Stephen Baldwin defend Melania Trump
© Greg Nash

CLEVELAND — Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE’s top supporters are coming out in defense of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s wife, Melania Trump, after controversy exploded over her convention speech late Monday night. 

Melanie Trump appeared to lift passages from first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama criticizes lack of diversity in politics: one side is 'all white, all men' Obama interrupts Michelle's appearance with 25th anniversary tribute Michelle Obama: Young people feel what's happening now 'not what they were taught' MORE’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech, marring what was supposed to be a big moment for the possible future first lady. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Former Republican presidential candidate and Trump surrogate Ben Carson told The Hill that the Trump campaign should find out who is responsible for writing the offending portion and send them to “media training.” 

But Carson stopped short of calling for any staffers to be fired and instead pointed to the similarities in the two speeches as evidence of bipartisan agreement. 

“I think we should celebrate the fact that both parties take something like what Michelle Obama said and Melania Trump said and they honor it and cherish it and think that it’s something — that tells you that we’re not as far apart as Democrats and Republicans want to make it out to be,” Carson told The Hill 

And actor Stephen Baldwin, a Trump supporter and veteran of Celebrity Apprentice, mocked the media for seizing on a storyline he described as trivial. 

“What we focus on nowadays relative to all of this is just so silly to me,” Baldwin told The Hill on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena. 

“I think it’s hysterical that [CNN anchor] Chris Cuomo, I saw him this morning saying, ‘If Mr. Trump was willing to plagiarize a Michelle Obama speech, that’s an indication of the dishonesty of the whole campaign.’ And Chris, if that’s what you think, God bless you son, but that’s not a perspective in my opinion that has a lot of common sense. I’m sure Mr. Trump wasn’t sitting around going, ‘Hmm, I wonder who I can plagiarize today.’” 

Baldwin said it looked to him like “sheer coincidence” that there were so many similarities in the two speeches. 

“I don’t even think what happened — I shouldn’t say this — but I don’t even think what happened was premeditated or deliberate,” he continued. “I think it was sheer coincidence there were that many similarities. If you really look at the words, she doesn’t say exactly, she says some similar things. I just think it’s really silly. There are more important things to be thinking about than Mrs. Trump’s speech.”

Melania Trump’s speech has attracted scrutiny for including some words and phrases that hewed closely to Obama’s 2008 speech.

The Trump campaign has fiercely defended her, saying that there is no evidence of plagiarism. 

But Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that whoever is responsible for the episode should be fired.