Thursday, May 19, 2022

Plagiarism Allegations Hit Trump Campaign Once Again

By on July 20, 2016

For the second consecutive day, plagiarism charges have hit the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, less than 24 hours after a speech by Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, during the Republican National Convention (RNC) set off a media firestorm.

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 19:  Donald Trump Jr. gestures to the crowd after delivering a speech on the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 19: Donald Trump Jr. gestures to the crowd after delivering a speech on the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

During a speech by the Republican candidate’s first child, Donald Trump Jr., during the RNC’s second night on Tuesday, several media outlets noted that some passages in the speech were seemingly cribbed from an essay written by F.H. Buckley, a law professor at George Mason University, and published in The American Conservative, a right-leaning opinion journal.

However, Buckley himself spoke to Vox, an online news site, shortly afterwards, and revealed that he was the principal speechwriter for Trump Jr.’s speech. “It’s not an issue,” Buckley said.

Critics have nevertheless decried such an instance of an author repurposing ideas from an earlier work, with some contending that it constitutes a form of “self-plagiarizing” with some potentially gray ethical areas.

A transcript of Donald Trump Jr.’s speech reads: “Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class, now they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers, for the teachers and the administrators and not the students.”

Meanwhile, the Buckley essay reads: “What should be an elevator to the upper class is stalled on the ground floor. Part of the fault for this may be laid at the feet of the system’s entrenched interests: the teachers’ unions and the higher-education professoriate. Our schools and universities are like the old Soviet department stores whose mission was to serve the interests of the sales clerks and not the customers.”

In any case, the Trump Jr. speech allegations pale in comparison to the scandal that enveloped Melania Trump immediately after her own speech on Monday night, when observers realized that whole sentences were lifted verbatim Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech to the Democratic convention in Denver.

The passages in question came near the beginning of Mrs. Trump’s nearly 15-minute speech.

In one example, Mrs. Trump said: “From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect.”

Eight years ago, Mrs. Obama said: “And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like, you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that you do what you say you’re going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect.”

In both instances, the Trump campaign, headed by campaign chairman Paul Manafort, have refuted the plagiarism allegations, and instead have tried to shift the blame to the campaign of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as the scandals; chief orchestrators.

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