At first, it seemed like just another tale of a Slovenia native rising through the ranks of exclusive modeling to marry a brusque real-estate baron who happens to run for president. But that was before social media began to parse Melania Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention.
Twitter user Jarrett Hill pointed out its eerie resemblance to Michelle Obama’s speech to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, from which two paragraphs appear to be lifted. (Irony: Even with 15,000 journalists in Cleveland, the overlap between the two speeches was pointed out by a social media user).
The accusations of plagiarism are leading Tuesday morning’s news cycle, threatening to overshadow the day’s convention program, which has the theme of "Make America Work Again." Scheduled Tuesday-night speakers are neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Donald Trump Jr. Among the most scathing coverage of Melania Trump’s speech is the New York Daily News’ special late edition with the headline, "Thanks, Mrs. Obama!"
The Trump campaign responded with a statement early Tuesday morning that attempted to side-step 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," the campaign said. "Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it a success."
Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort told CNN on Tuesday morning that Melania Trump "used common words and values."
Yet neither Manafort nor the Trump campaign has answered the other big question about the speech: Was Melania Trump really just rickrolling the convention?
The need-to-know stories from night one of the Republican Convention:
Critics wondered if Donald Trump was "counterprogramming himself" when he called into The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel as Pat Smith emotionally blamed Hillary Clinton for the loss of her son, who died in the September 11, 2012, attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. Smith’s speech connected with the audience inside Quicken Arena, but some viewers at home may have flipped over to Fox News during it for Trump’s interview.
Soap opera actor Antonio Sabato Jr. couldn’t keep his foot out of his mouth moments after delivering a rousing endorsement of Trump, telling ABC News he "absolutely" believes President Barack Obama is a Muslim. "We had a Muslim president for seven and a half years," he told the network.
The jockeying for the next Republican nomination is underway. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) delivered a biographical speech about how both he and his father left cushy jobs at home to join the Armed Forces during wartime. (He never mentioned Trump). Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have met with various state delegations.
The theme of Monday night could be summed up in just a few words: Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, and some law and order. Speakers included the parents of people killed in the September 2012 terrorist attack in Libya and veterans of the day’s events. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani also delivered a fiery speech to the convention, and family members of people killed by undocumented immigrants made emotional appeals to vote for Trump. Night one closed with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and other veterans in elected positions endorsing Trump and a call to action by retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Hillary Clinton isn’t conceding the week to the Republicans. The presumed Democratic candidate recorded an interview with Charlie Rose, saying Trump has "the most dangerous, reckless approach to being president than I think we've ever seen."