Trump campaign dismisses criticism of Melania Trump speech

From The Associated Press:

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Trump campaign on Tuesday dismissed criticism that Melania Trump directly lifted two passages nearly word-for-word from the speech that first lady Michelle Obama delivered in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention, calling the complaints “just absurd.”

Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort insisted no mistakes had been made with the speech and said the issue was “totally blown out of proportion.”

“There were a few words on it, but they’re not words that were unique words,” he told The Associated Press. “Ninety-nine percent of that speech talked about her being an immigrant and love of country and love of family and everything else.”

Mrs. Trump’s star turn at the Republican National Convention Monday night captivated a GOP crowd. The passages in question focused on lessons that Trump’s wife says she learned from her parents and the relevance of their lessons in her experience as a mother.

Manafort told CNN Mrs. Trump was aware of “how her speech was going to be scrutinized” and said any notion that she picked up portions of Mrs. Obama’s convention talk was “just absurd.” He also tried to blame Hillary Clinton.

“I mean, this is, once again, an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down,” Manafort said. “It’s not going to work.”

The White House declined to comment on the similarities.

The passages in question came near the beginning of Mrs. Trump’s roughly 10-minute speech. Her address was otherwise distinct from the address that Mrs. Obama gave when then-Sen. Barack Obama was being nominated for president.

In Mrs. Trump’s speech in Cleveland, she said: “From a young age, my parents impressed on me …

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