Lifted passages of Melania’s speech not in speechwriter’s draft: reports
© Getty

A speechwriter’s draft of Melania Trump’s remarks to the Republican National Convention did not include the passages that kicked off a firestorm Monday night. 


NBC News reported Tuesday night that the draft Republican speechwriter Matthew Scully submitted to Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFormer defense secretary Esper sues Pentagon in memoir dispute Biden celebrates start of Hanukkah Fauci says lies, threats are 'noise' MORE’s campaign did not include the phrases Melania Trump delivered that matched nearly word-for-word remarks Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson Obama'Car guy' Biden puts his spin on the presidency Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Son gives emotional tribute to Colin Powell at service MORE made in 2008. 

A senior Trump aide told NBC News that Scully submitted an early draft to the campaign that was rejected, and the process was started again. The aide said Scully’s draft did not become a template for the final version. 

The New York Times reported that the campaign hired two high-profile speechwriters — Matthew Scully and John McConnell, who worked on signature addresses such as George W. Bush’s remarks after the 9/11 terror attacks — to help draft Melania Trump’s speech.

They sent a draft but then — “Weeks went by. They heard nothing,” the Times reported, because Melania Trump was uncomfortable with the text, which she began to change. 

The Times put together an account of how the slip-up happened based on interviews with more than a dozen people involved in or close to the Trump campaign. 

The original speechwriters were not aware of how much the speech had been changed until they saw it delivered on Monday night. 

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband, brought Scully and McConnell in to help, but Melania Trump turned instead to Meredith McIver, who worked on some of Donald Trump’s books, the Times reported. 

It’s not clear how much input McIver had, but sources told the paper that but the time Trump and her staff finished revising the speech, nearly all that remained from the original was the introduction and a passage with the phrase “a national campaign like no other.”

The Republican presidential nominee’s campaign has maintained there was no plagiarism in the remarks, and other Republicans have argued it amounted to common themes and some similar words.

But several phrases are identical to ones uttered by the first lady, and plagiarism experts are beyond skeptical of it being a coincidence.

Turnitin, a California-based company, uses a computer algorithm to automatically vet submitted writing for any matches that could amount to plagiarism. 

Chris Harrick, Turnitin vice president of marketing, told The Hill on Tuesday that 6 percent of Melania's Trump’s speech was determined to have language that matched with other existing text. All 6 percent came from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention.

According to Turnitin, there is a 1 in 1 trillion chance that two writers would write the same 16-word sequence by coincidence. The longest matching sequence of words between the Trump and Obama speeches was 23 words.

Updated 10:16 p.m.