(CN) – Melania Trump has rarely spoken on her husband’s behalf during his quest for the GOP nomination for the presidency. The last time was in April in Wisconsin.
But she immediately found herself on the horns of a controversy Monday night when she delivered a speech on the opening day of the Republican National Convention two portion of which matched nearly word-for-word the speech that first lady Michelle Obama delivered to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
The passages in question focus on lessons that Donald Trump’s wife says she learned from her parents and the relevance of their lessons in her experience as a mother.
They came near the beginning of her roughly 10-minute speech. Trump’s address was otherwise distinct from the address that Obama gave when then-Sen. Barack Obama was being nominated for president.
The passage that created the controversy are as follows:
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 lives.
That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. 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.”
In 2008 Michelle Obama said:
“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. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. 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.”
Later, Melania Trump said:
“I was born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then Communist country in Central Europe. My sister, Ines, who is an incredible woman and a friend, and I were raised by my wonderful parents. My elegant and hardworking mother, Amalija, introduced me to fashion and beauty. My father, Viktor, instilled in me a passion for business and travel. Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflects to this day on me and for my love of family and America.”
In 2008 Michelle Obama said:
Mrs. Obama, in 2008: “And I come here as a daughter — raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother’s love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.”
By midnight, the similarities between these passage was creating an uproar; so much so that at 1:48 a.m., the Trump campaign sent out a statement to address the issue.
“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,” said Jason Miller, the campaign’s senior communications advisor. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
Also defending Trump was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who said over 90 percent of Melanie Trump’s speech was substantially different from Obama’s remarks “and people express similar thoughts with similar words.”
The last time Melania Trump spoke on behalf of her husband was at a Wisconsin rally at the Milwaukee Theatre on April 4.
At the time, her husband, Donald Trump, was badly trailing rival Sen. Ted Cruz in the polls before Wisconsin’s winner-take-all primary and his campaign had been best by a series of controversies including allegations that his then-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, had manhandled a reporter at a Palm Beach rally, and Trump’s own statements during an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in which the candidate said women should suffer “some form of punishment” for getting abortions.
The campaign then turned to Melania Trump, who is an immigrant from Slovenia and from the start of the campaign has preferred to stay in the background, to calm the waters.
Melania Trump, wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump waves as she speaks during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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