Melania Trump Accused Of Plagiarism For Repackaging Obama-Era Program
Her speech cited points from an existing program.
Photo by The White House/Flickr.
First lady Melania Trump kept a low profile during the first year of her husband’s presidency. At the beginning of her husband’s term, she stayed in New York City for the first five months while her son, Barron, attended school. She made few public appearances and stayed away from the media.
On May 7, in the White House Rose Garden, Melania announced her first initiative as first lady. The Be Best campaign will focus on opioid abuse, social media pressures, and mental health issues among young people. “Children deserve every opportunity to enjoy their innocence,” Melania said.
According to The New York Times, the initiative doesn’t seem to be much more than a repackaging of current federal initiatives. Its said to closely mirror both the National Safety Council’s opioid abuse campaign and the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines on children’s social media activity.
Shortly after Melania’s announcement, Twitter user @RudePundit revealed that the pamphlet released by the first lady is the exact same one put forth by Obama’s FTC in 2014.
Fun fact: The White House trumpets “Talking with Kids about Being Online" as "a booklet by First Lady Melania Trump and the Federal Trade Commission." Except for an intro, it's exactly the same thing Obama's FTC put out. pic.twitter.com/AEf6F0gBbt— The Rude Pundit (@rudepundit) May 7, 2018\n
So they took the Obama administration's words and put Melania's face on the front. Kind of the ne plus ultra of the Trump ethos there.— The Rude Pundit (@rudepundit) May 7, 2018\n
Nowhere in the Melania edition does it mention this was published before. Again. the work was done by the Obama administration. A Trump is taking credit.— The Rude Pundit (@rudepundit) May 7, 2018\n
Except for a couple of other minor changes, this page is literally the only section that's partially revised. (New one on the left, old one on the right) pic.twitter.com/UJGNzznhcz— The Rude Pundit (@rudepundit) May 7, 2018\n
On May 8, a spokesperson for the first lady called the plagiarism accusations “baseless.”
Despite providing countless outlets with ample background, information, and on-the-record comments from the FTC, some media have chosen to take a day meant to promote kindness and positive efforts on behalf of children, to instead lob baseless accusations towards the First Lady and her new initiatives.
The statement also acknowledged that “Mrs. Trump agreed to add Be Best branding and distribute the [FTC] booklet in an effort to use her platform to amplify the positive message within.”
These new allegations are a bit of déjà vu for Melania’s team. She was also accused of plagiarism after her speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention — parts of which were nearly identical to an address given by Michelle Obama.