Donald Trump's campaign on Tuesday morning denied accusations Melania Trump's speech delivered at the Republican National Convention Monday evening plagiarized Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic National Convention speech.
The contested segment of Melania's speech was quickly flagged as plagiarism by national news outlets, including CNN which posted a side-by-side comparison of the two speeches:
The Trump campaign released a statement saying Melania Trump's speech included "fragments" that "reflected her own thinking" but doesn't address the plagiarism allegations directly or say where the fragments came from:
In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.
Speaking with CBS Tuesday morning, Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort defended those words from Melania Trump's speech, also referring to them as "fragments" and saying that were "not lifted."
"They're a couple of phrases. It's basically three places in the speech and it's fragments of words," he told Charlie Rose.
"We're talking about words like compassion, love of family, respect," Manafort added. "These are not words that are unique words, that belong to the Obamas."
Appearing on the "Today Show" Tuesday morning, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also defended Melania Trump's speech, but his explanation differed significantly from Manafort's.
Christie told NBC's Matt Lauer that the speech cannot be considered plagiarism "when 93 percent of the speech is completely different than Michelle Obama’s speech."
When Lauer noted that the paragraph in question contains "almost word-for-word" what Obama said in her 2008 speech, Christie brushed it off.
"Listen, Matt," he said. "The worst day of the convention is the first day, 'cause everyone's building up to it and everyone gets breathless — both the delegates and the media — about something to cover and a controversy to talk about. I think after tonight we won't be talking about this."