After Melania Trump delivered a speech Monday at the Republican National Convention that lifted lines from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama, the speechwriter responsible for the plagiarized passages offered to resign.
Meredith McIver, an in-house staff writer at the Trump Organization, said on Wednesday she offered her resignation after media outlets reported widely on the mistake Tuesday, but that the Trumps refused to accept it.
McIver worked with Melania Trump on her speech after an initial draft was written by two experienced speechwriters for the Trump campaign, the New York Times reported. But Melania Trump made several edits to the text, helped by McIver, the paper reported, and in the process inserted nearly word for word multiple passages from Michelle Obama’s convention speech eight years ago.
“In working with Melania Trump on her recent First Lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people,” McIver said in her statement, adding that one of those inspirations was the current First Lady.
“Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech,” McIver said. “I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches.”
“This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama,” McIver wrote.
But the candidate himself was understanding, she said.
“Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences,” she wrote.
McIver, in her apology, said she wanted to speak up because “I did not like seeing the way this was distracting from Mr. Trump’s historic campaign for president and Melania’s beautiful message and presentation.”
“I personally admire the way Mr. Trump has handled this situation and I am grateful for his understanding,” she added.
The Trump campaign insisted that Melania Trump did not plagiarize from Obama’s remarks after her speech Monday, insisting that the candidate’s wife used “common words” instead of cribbing from the previous speech.