MSNBC panelist John Heilemann suggested Tuesday that the plagiarism in Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention was less offensive than previous examples by Barack Obama and Joe Biden since they stole from like-minded people.
Trump’s speech Monday night, initially well-received, came under criticism when a social media user found that an entire paragraph of Trump’s address was lifted almost verbatim from Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
"What frustrates me is Melania’s story and Melania in her own words is very effective," said Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski. "A lot of that was, obviously. She speaks multiple languages. She could have done so much with it, and some jerk put in a speech from Michelle Obama's 2008—how does that happen?"
Heilemann said whoever was responsible for ripping off the lines was "too stupid to be employed," pointing to previous plagiarism controversies with Obama and Biden as less offensive.
Then-Sen. Biden was found in 1987 to have plagiarized a law review article he wrote in law school, in addition to plagiarizing British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock in campaign remarks. Obama was called out by then-Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in 2008 for cribbing speech lines from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick involving famous quotes.
"For Joe Biden to plagiarize Neil Kinnock is wrong," Heilemann said. "But Joe Biden is a Democrat. Neil Kinnock is a Labor Party politician. The same thing’s true with Barack Obama, Deval Patrick. Somebody got it in their mind when they were under pressure, stressed out, trying to get this speech together for her, to cut-and-paste Michelle Obama’s speech at the Trump campaign. It’s one thing to be a plagiarist. It’s another thing to be a moronic plagiarist."