Staff Writer Takes Blame for 'Mistakes' in Melania Trump RNC Speech

by Benjy Sarlin /  / Updated 
Image: Melania Trump
Melania Trump, wife of Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, delivers a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.Alex Wong / Getty Images

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A speechwriter for Donald Trump's business took the blame for apparent plagiarism in Melania Trump's convention speech, saying she offered to resign over the error but was asked to stay by Mr. Trump.

Meredith McIver is a staff writer for Trump’s private company, not his presidential campaign, and issued her statement on Trump Organization letterhead.

McIver twice called the inclusion of language from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech “my mistake,” seemingly contradicting the campaign’s earlier insistence that no significant plagiarism occurred.

Related: Trump Campaign's Shifting Story on Speech Raises New Questions

According to McIver, Mrs. Trump “always liked” the First Lady and passed on her convention remarks as an “inspiration” for her own speech. Somehow, the passage ended up in the final version largely unchanged.

“Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples,” McIver wrote. “I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused to Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama.”

McIver added she had offered to resign over the error, but Mr. Trump rejected it, chalking the incident up to “innocent mistakes.”

The statement comes after a day of inconsistent responses from Trump’s campaign and its allies over the incident that has distracted from the convention.

Trump aide Paul Manafort vehemently denied the speech “cribbed” from Mrs. Obama on Tuesday, saying instead it used “common words.” He also, without evidence, blamed Hillary Clinton for manufacturing the story as a way to “destroy” Mrs. Trump.

RNC spokesman Sean Spicer went on to dismiss charges of plagiarism as well, mockingly suggesting on MSNBC that the speech bore similarities to dialogue from Twilight Sparkle, a character on the animated children’s TV series “My Little Pony.”

McIver’s statement on Wednesday, however, confirmed that Mrs. Trump’s speech drew specifically from Mrs Obama’s and that its similarities – which were at points, word for word -- were not a coincidence, but the result of an actual mistake.

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