Presidential races

GOP to Trump: Fire somebody

CLEVELAND — The Donald Trump campaign should take action against whoever is responsible for the similarities between Melania Trump’s address at the Republican National Convention and Michelle Obama’s convention speech in 2008, some Republicans gathered here said Tuesday.

Trump’s ex-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, on CNN called for his one-time rival Paul Manafort to resign if he was the last person to sign off on Trump’s primetime speech. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the speechwriter should probably be fired. 

{mosads}And Donald Trump’s presidential rival-turned-surrogate Ben Carson said the author of the speech should have to undergo some kind of media training.

Trump allies have said the plagiarism allegations are much ado about nothing.

But the growing controversy has marred what initially had been a well-received speech from Melania Trump, who until Monday night had largely limited her appearances on the campaign trail.

Stories about the plagiarism claims dominated news coverage Monday night and Tuesday, stepping on the Trump campaign’s Day One theme of the GOP gathering — law and order — and serving as another unwanted distraction during a pivotal week for the party’s standard-bearer. 

Conservative Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a Trump supporter, called the incident “unfortunate” and said whoever wrote the speech should take the fall.

“You can’t lift passages,” DeSantis said Tuesday during an interview with The Hill on the convention floor. “It’s not what you want to happen, obviously, so there was a breakdown somewhere. … But you shouldn’t try to say, ‘Oh, who cares.’ You shouldn’t do that. Just be honest with it and say it was a mistake and figure out a way to correct it.”

A paragraph in Melania Trump’s address closely resembled one in Michelle Obama’s address in Denver eight years ago.

But Trump campaign officials vehemently reject claims the section was plagiarized and have made clear that no one would be fired over the incident.  

The campaign also has not identified who wrote the roughly 15-minute address. 

“There was no cribbing from Michelle Obama’s speech,” Manafort said on CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday. “These were common words and values, that she cares about her family and things like that. She was speaking in front of 35 million people last night. She knew that. To think she would be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy.”

Priebus tried to downplay the controversy Tuesday morning, calling it a slight “distraction.” Yet the RNC chairman said he would “probably” fire the staffer responsible for the sections of Melania Trump’s speech that appear plagiarized.

“I don’t blame her,” Priebus said at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast with reporters in Cleveland on Tuesday. “Some of these things are pretty common types of themes.”

Lewandowski, the former campaign manager who was fired by Donald Trump last month, said that whoever gave the green light for Trump’s speech should resign. He specifically suggested it is Manafort, his replacement, who should take the fall.

“Whoever signed off with the final sign off that allowed this to go forward should be held accountable,” Lewandowski said on CNN, where he is now a paid contributor. He is also chairman of the New Hampshire GOP delegation. 

“I think if it was Paul Manafort, he would do the right thing and resign,” Lewandowski continued. “If he was the last person who saw this happen and has brought this on the candidate’s wife, I think he would resign because I think that’s the type of person he would be.”

Melania Trump’s polished delivery Monday night was sandwiched between fiery addresses from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. 

While Giuliani and Flynn played to the base, Trump called for unity in a bid to soften the image of her tough-talking husband. 

A Slovenian-born immigrant, Trump pledged that her husband “intends to represent all the people, not just some of the people.” She proceeded to tick off a list of groups Trump has alienated during the GOP primary, like Muslims he’s proposed to ban from entering the country, as well as Hispanics.

A Gallup poll released before Trump’s primetime address on the first night of the GOP convention showed that she already had the worst favorable ratings of any potential first lady in the firm’s polling over the last two decades, while many other members of the public had yet to form an impression of her.

Donald Trump surrogates gathered in Cleveland argued that voters weren’t paying much attention to what they view as a fake controversy ginned up by the media.

“It was 15 minutes long and less than a minute was similar to Michelle’s speech so it’s not really an issue with me,” Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), an early Trump backer, told The Hill. “When talking about loyalty to family, there are only so many ways to say it. Most have already been said by someone.”

Jonathan Easley contributed.

Tags Donald Trump Michelle Obama

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video