Melania Trump's speechwriter takes blame for plagiarism
© Greg Nash

The woman who wrote Melania Trump’s convention speech took responsibility on Wednesday for copying portions of a 2008 convention speech delivered by first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama to Simone Biles: 'We are proud of you and we are rooting for you' Obama setting up big bash to celebrate his 60th Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary MORE.

In a statement, Meredith McIver said that she had offered to resign as an in-house writer for Trump, but that the presumptive GOP nominee for president refused to accept it.

“This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos that have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama,” McIver said in her statement. “No harm was meant.”


Talk of Melania’s speech has dominated the convention since reports emerged late Monday night that a portion of the address was strikingly similar to Obama’s.

The Trump campaign blamed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote MORE and the media on Tuesday for stirring up the controversy. It refused to concede that portions of Melania Trump’s speech appeared to have been taken from Obama’s, even as the campaign came under criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.

The controversy has been a distraction at the GOP convention, dominating media narratives as late as Wednesday morning, when CNN anchor Chris Cuomo accused Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort of lying about the speech.

McIver said that while working on the speech, Melania Trump told her that she was inspired by the first lady and had always liked Michelle Obama. She then read some passages of Obama’s 2008 speech to her over the phone.

“I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech,” McIver said. “I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches.”

McIver said she had offered to resign on Tuesday, but that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE had refused to accept her resignation.


“Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences,” she wrote.

“I asked to put out this statement because I did not like seeing the way this was distracting from Mr. Trump’s historic campaign for president and Melania’s beautiful message and presentation.”

The statement from McIver seems designed to put the story about Melania’s speech to rest, and represented a turn for a campaign that had earlier defended the speech.

On Tuesday, Manafort told reporters that most of the speech was Melania’s alone, and on Wednesday he again defended it.

“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.

“As far as we’re concerned, there are similar words that were used, we’ve said that, but the feelings of those words and the commonality of those words do not create a situation which we feel we have to agree with you,” he said.

Katrina Pierson, a spokeswoman for the campaign, went on the offensive Tuesday, telling The Hill that the sentiments expressed in the Monday speech were “Republican values” and that the allegations were “absurd.”

"These are values, Republican values by the way, of hard work, determination, family values, dedication and respect, and that's Melania Trump," Pierson said. "This concept that Michelle Obama invented the English language is absurd."

Meanwhile, Republicans were calling on the campaign to fire someone and put the controversy behind them.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the uproar a slight “distraction,” though he admitted that it would “probably” be a fireable offense if a speechwriter did lift the segment from the first lady’s speech.

The paragraph from Melania Trump’s speech that was similar to Obama’s reads as such:

"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. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life.”

The similar passage from Obama’s speech reads:

“And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them,” Obama said, according to a transcript from CNN.

The ensuing firestorm has consumed most of the media attention surrounding the convention, an event that the Trump campaign was hoping would provide a boost in the polls and shift the focus away from divisions within the party.

See McIver's entire statement below:

Meredith Statement by M Mali on Scribd