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White House for Response to Melania Speech, Michelle Obama’s Name Comes Front-and-Center

Asked at the daily White House press briefing if the president had any thoughts or comments from the speech Melania Trump gave last night at the Republican convention, a small part of which is being called into question for plagiarism, spokesman Josh Earnest sidestepped a direct answer:
“As it relates to Mrs. Trump’s speech I’ll let all of you weigh in on that and try to learn more about how exactly it was written.”

Earnest said President Obama didn’t watch convention coverage, or Mrs. Trump’s speech, a portion of which was allegedly cribbed from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic Convention speech:
“I can’t speak to what exactly he was doing last night, but knowing his habits, I expect that he was working in the [White House] private residence, watching sports….He’s merely making a choice about how to spend the small amount of free time he has in the evening—it tends towards the athletic, rather than the political.”
Earnest did say, however, that Obama has today paid close attention to the news coverage and fallout from Mrs. Trump’s speech.

Image credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
Pressed to talk more about how the White House, in particular both President and Michelle Obama, feel about the speech controversy, Earnest didn’t bite.
Instead, he opted to spin the questions into high praise for the current first lady, going on a somewhat unrelated tangent on American values, which he read from a pre-written statement:
“When Mrs. Obama spoke [in 2008], she received an enthusiastic reception, and strong reviews, because of her words, her life story, and the values she and her husband deeply believe in, and try to instill in their kids.
These are American values, and they are what we all strive for when we’re at our best, and I’ll add they’re the same values, integrity and hard work, that President Obama expects of everybody who works in the White House.”
Melania Trump’s speech, large portions of which are not being labeled as plagiarism, also touched on her life story, and values.

She said:
“On July 28th, 2006, I was very proud to become a citizen of the United States – the greatest privilege on planet Earth. I cannot, or will not, take the freedoms this country offers for granted. But these freedoms have come with a price so many times.
The sacrifices made by our veterans are reminders to us of this. I would like to take this moment to recognize an amazing veteran, the great Senator Bob Dole. And let us thank all of our veterans in the arena today, and those across our great country.
We are all truly blessed to be here. That will never change.”
Earnest refused to comment any further on the president’s reaction to the Trump/Obama speech comparisons:
“Presumably at some point he’ll be asked to discuss this and I’ll let him do that in the way that he chooses.”

As for Mrs. Obama, her communications office did not return a request for comment. The first lady spent the day at the White House hosting an event for 130-college bound students as part of her Beating the Odds initiative.
She is scheduled to give a speech in support of Hillary Clinton on the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 25th.
Khabza Mkhize

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