2 People Surprised at Melania Speech: Original Writers

Matthew Scully, John McConnell's draft was gutted after they submitted it
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2016 6:11 AM CDT
Updated Jul 20, 2016 7:04 AM CDT

(Newser) – With the Trump campaign still stinging from allegations that Melania Trump cribbed from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech, various news outlets are beginning to piece together how the gaffe happened. At this point, one thing is clear: You can't blame the original speechwriters. As ABC News reports, the Trump campaign hired two heavyweights, Matthew Scully and John McConnell, to craft the speech, and they turned in their draft more than a month ago. It didn't include any of the controversial passages that would come to embarrass the campaign—in fact, the delivered speech bears almost no resemblance to the original. So who changed it? That's still not fully clear, but the New York Times reports that Melania Trump herself was unhappy with the original and decided it needed to be overhauled.

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The Times says she turned to "trusted hand" Meredith McIver, who helped Donald Trump with books like Think Like a Billionaire, and it seems their research led them to previous speeches by first ladies. The Times adds that it's unclear how much of a role McIver had in writing the final speech, but when all was said and done, it reports only the introduction and a line about a "national campaign like no other" was left standing from the original. NBC News, meanwhile, reports by way of sources that Rick Gates, a top aide to campaign chairman Paul Manafort, approved the final text. Still, with all the plagiarism-detection software available, other speechwriters have expressed their bafflement about how such a rudimentary step was seemingly overlooked. Son Donald Trump Jr. told CBS News that "there's people who ... should've cleaned it up better." (Read more Melania Trump stories.)

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