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Republicans dismiss Melania Trump speech flap as media 'nonsense'

Many Republicans are largely dismissing the controversy over whether Melania Trump's convention speech contained passages from one delivered by first lady Michelle Obama, blaming the media for creating a flap over nothing.

Criticism over similarities to Michelle Obama's 2008 speech 'an issue created by the media'

Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks on opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Monday. (Associated Press)

Many Republicans are dismissing the controversy over whether Melania Trump's convention speech contained a couple of passages from one delivered by Michelle Obama in 2008, instead blaming the media for creating a flap over nothing.

"It's not a controversy here, quite frankly. I think it's an issue created by the media which Republicans are pretty familiar with," said Brent Bogardus, a New York state delegate. "They've beaten up on us all the time with nonsense like this."

Many speeches contain similar passages, Bogardus said, denying that the speech by Melania Trump, Donald Trump's spouse, has become a needless distraction.

New York delegate Brent Bogardus says the flap over Melania Trump's speech is a lot of media nonsense. (Mark Gollom/CBC)

"It is not an issue for anyone at this convention."

Melania Trump's 10-minute speech on Monday night was largely well received until it was noted that a couple of sentences appeared to be similar to those in Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic convention speech in Denver.

In Cleveland Melania Trump said: "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."

Melania Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention bears striking similarities to Michelle Obama's 2008 speech. 0:37

Eight years ago Michelle Obama said: "And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like, you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that 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."

Trump adviser Paul Manafort told The Associated Press that the issue has been totally blown out of proportion. And many delegates inside the Quicken Loans Arena where the Republican convention is taking place seemed to agree. 

'Stupidest thing in the world'

"It's the stupidest thing in the world. I don't know why people care so much about it," said Michael Barnett, a delegate from Florida. "I think if a mistake was made, you can't blame Melania. I'm sure she didn't write that speech."

The campaign said Monday night's speech was written by a "team of writers" who had spoken with Melania Trump about her life experiences and included fragments that reflected her thinking. 

Florida delegate Michael Barnett said he believes some staffer on Trump's campaign will likely lose their job over the speech controversy. (Mark Gollom/CBC)

Barnett said he believes some staffer on Trump's campaign will likely lose their job over the issue.

"You don't want to do something that ends up embarrassing the potential first lady."

But he also noted that President Barack Obama has been accused of lifting passages from a speech from former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and "nobody remembers."

Tennesee delegate Tim Hutchison said a portion of the media is always going to select something to criticize Melania Trump.

"That's as good as any of them. There's only so many words you can use to express how you feel about someone or how someone is," he said.

Tennesee delegate Tim Hutchison said a portion of the media is always going to select something to criticize Melania Trump. (Mark Gollom/CBC)

"It's something for [the media] to run with and I'm very aware when the media creates issues."

But Carly Roman, a student from New York, said that clearly there is some overlap in the language of the two speeches. In the greater scheme, though, it's not a big deal, she said.

She thought Melania Trump delivered an excellent speech, particularly since it was not in her first language.

Carly Roman, a student from New York, said that clearly there is some overlap in the language of the two speeches. (Mark Gollom/CBC)

"But it definitely does cast a shadow over it and now I think a lot of people are not foccusing on the things she did right in light of this."

Donald Trump's wife takes the stage in Cleveland on the 1st day of the Republican convention 17:50

About the Author

Mark Gollom

Reporter

Mark Gollom is a Toronto-based reporter with CBC News. He covers Canadian and U.S. politics and current affairs.

With files from The Associated Press