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July 19, 2016


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I tend to agree with you, David. I'm also curious about the vetting process. With Trump's reportedly lean campaign staff, I wonder who vetted the speech. Of course, it's not unheard of for a speaker to add or change language after the speech has been vetted, but given that she was clearly relying heavily on the teleprompter (and by many media accounts was reluctant to do the speech anyway), that seems unlikely. I look forward to hearing more as the story continues to unfold.

BACKGROUND: From Canada. I've never been a full-time speechwriter (only writing speeches, no other employment) But I've written complete speeches, and parts of speeches, for Canadian provincial and federal cabinet ministers, several premiers, many CEOs, assorted other business people, and many more. But never political speeches for candidates looking to be elected.
We know two things.
Melania is a liar; she either wrote the speech and lied in it, or did not write the speech even though she said she did.
Melania is stupid (and maybe a liar). No-one with brains makes a nationally televised speech without reading it. So she either read it and let the easily-caught plagerism go by, or was so stupid she did not read it. Sounded rehearsed to me, though.
We suspect a third thing.
The speech was not written by a professional speechwriter; it was some lying conniving Trump political apparatchik. Maybe his wife, but probably not. And the speech writer probably doesn't even care that the plagiarism is revealed. No shame being a liar in the Trump camp. Just talk louder. Names, please, anyway.

"Don't only ask what others may steal from you, but ask too what you can steal from others. Let's make speeches great again. " In Denmark there's quite some media time spent on the Melania-speech and for many Danes and probably other Eurpoeans the copy-paste in the speech confirms the impression of a strange ethos of the Trump-campaign: unpredictable and at times confused.

I have to admit - I was more distracted by the Rickroll in her speech. “He will never, ever, give up. And, most importantly, he will never, ever, let you down.” At a basic level it seems that no one who is familiar with writing a major speech gave this more than a cursory glance before loading it into the prompter. There were all kinds of awkward phrases (full text here: http://www.news24.com/World/News/read-what-melania-trump-said-20160719)

I cut her more slack if she did it herself. I can at least imagine how that plays out ... she's not one who makes many speeches on the campaign trail, she watches a few past speeches by would-be first ladies, something resonates with her and she wants to say something like that that becomes something that is too much like that. It's amateur hour, but I get how it could happen. Much worse if this was done by professional speechwriters on her behalf. I've got no insight into that. There have been plenty of times I've listened to speeches and thought, "Boy, I wish I'd written that," but I've never turned around and repurposed whatever "that" happened to be without attribution. Here's former G. W. Bush speechwriter Mike Gerson's take on what happened, and if he's right that it's a staff screw up, I tend to agree with the rest of his assessments of the campaign: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/19/what-george-w-bushs-chief-speechwriter-thinks-of-the-melania-trump-mess/?tid=sm_fb

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