CLEVELAND — Spotlight-shy Melania Trump delivered a poised speech Monday to headline the first night of the Republican National Convention to nominate her husband, Donald Trump, for president, but her remarks had uncanny echoes of a 2008 address by Michelle Obama.
“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,” Melania Trump said at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
The businesswoman and former model was speaking about her upbringing in her native Slovenia.
Eight years ago at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Michelle Obama made a similar statement about her family in the South Side of Chicago and that of her husband, Barack Obama.
“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,” she said then, “even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.”
Michelle Obama added: “Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Melania Trump on Monday night said: “Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Donald Trump’s campaign sent a statement early Tuesday that stressed a team of writers had crafted it, but the statement didn’t explain why parts of his wife’s speech mirrored the first lady’s.
“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” senior communications adviser Jason Miller said. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
But Melania Trump, who has not had a prominent speaking or surrogate role in her husband’s campaign in part because she is raising the couple’s young son, told NBC earlier Monday that she had written the speech mostly by herself.
“I wrote it, and with as little help as possible,” she said.