The Note: Melania Trump Appears to Channel Michelle Obama at RNC

ByMichael Falcone
July 19, 2016, 9:06 AM


--MELANIA TRUMP’S SPEECH HAD SIMILARITIES TO MICHELLE OBAMA ADDRESS: Melania Trump delivered the most anticipated speech on the first night of the Republican National Convention, but portions of her remarks bear striking similarities to Michelle Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention eight years ago.  In a portion of the speech where Trump discussed her upbringing, she 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." Roughly eight years earlier, Michelle Obama said that "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 and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect." ABC’s MICHAEL FALCONE, MEGHAN KENEALLY and BRIAN MCBRIDE have more.

--WHAT THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN IS SAYING: The Trump campaign released a statement early Tuesday morning addressing the controversy, saying, in part, "Melania's team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking."

--TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN PUSHES BACK TOO: Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort flatly denied any allegations Melania Trump lifted last night’s convention speech from Michelle Obama, claiming such an act would be “absurd.” “To say that she lifted any words from anybody is absurd,” Manafort told ABC News’ TOM LLAMAS. “Her speech last night was a very poignant presentation of her becoming an American citizen, falling in love with with a man that she wanted to talk about.” Manafort told Llamas that Melania was aware she was giving an extremely high-profile speech, and it would have made no sense for her to lift from Michelle Obama’s 2008 address. “Melania Trump understood very well that her speech was going to be viewed by over 35 million Americans,” Manafort said. More from ABC’s ALANA ABRAMSON:


--ANALYSIS: TRUMP CONVENTION LEADS WITH FEAR -- AND FAMILY. The RNC got off to a raw, meandering, downbeat, and downright scary start -- a stunning and stark portrait of reasons to be fearful in America. It was against that backdrop that Donald J. Trump made his early entrance at his own convention, ABC’s RICK KLEIN writes. Hours after the gathering threatened to unravel, and more than a full hour before the night would limp toward an end, Trump introduced his wife so she could help offer him up as the answer for a nation on edge. “If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you, he’s the guy,”Melania Trump said, in a well-received speech that was a rare break from a night of insults and potential injuries. “Donald is, and always has been, an amazing leader. Now, he will go to work for you.”

--HAPPENING TODAY: Today’s convention theme is “Make America Work Again” and headline speakers include Trump children, Tiffany and Donald, Jr., House Speaker Paul Ryan, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and two former presidential candidates turned Trump supporters: Chris Christie and Ben Carson.



GOP KICKS OFF CONVENTION AMID UPHEAVAL AT HOME AND ABROAD. Republicans kicked off their presidential nominating convention in Cleveland with a message of strength and security, after a series of attacks and instability abroad, as well as violent shootings across the United States. In an effort to rebuke the foreign policy records of Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, and respond to a national debate over policing and gun violence, GOP officials and the Trump campaign organized a night of security-focused speeches, grouped around the promise to “make America safe again,”  ABC’s BENJAMIN SIEGEL writes. Delegates heard from Benghazi attack survivors Mark Geist and John Tiegen, along with a trio of GOP members of Congress with military experience: Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana, a Navy SEAL veteran.

WATCH TRUMP’S EPIC CONVENTION ENTRANCE IN 360 VIDEO. Donald Trump’s showmanship was on full display last night at the Republican National Convention. His "surprise" entrance came in the middle of a band’s rendition of “Brown Eyed Girl” right before his wife Melania addressed the convention.

CONVENTION FLOOR ERUPTS IN CHAOS AS NEVER TRUMP FORCES THWARTED. The floor of the Republican National Convention erupted into chaos Monday amid an attempt by never-Trump forces to change the event's rules. The bid was defeated, thwarting the effort to block the real estate mogul's path to the nomination. Delegates engaged in dueling chants of "Roll call vote" and "USA" on the floor after Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas, the presiding chairman, forced a voice vote and judged that those who favored the existing rules prevailed. Colorado's delegation walked off of the floor in protest amid the chaos. The push to force a roll call vote was defeated, closing the last available avenue for the never-Trump movement to unbind delegates, ABC’s RYAN STRUYK, JOHN PARKINSON and NOAH FITZGEREL reports.

LARGELY PEACEFUL PROTESTS SHOW WIDE SWATH OF ANGER IN CLEVELAND. The first day of the RNC brought with it growing groups of peaceful protesters, only about half of whom were there to vent about Donald Trump. At one of the protests in Cleveland Monday, there were groups with varying interests, from vocal anti-Islam protesters, to Trump supporters, to civil rights activists, ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY notes. A number of local activists were on hand at the late morning protest in Public Square. A significant, more organized crowd didn’t form until sometime after, and in a neighboring square near the city’s war memorial. That gathering had more of a focus, summed up with large banners reading “Dump Trump.”

GOP CONVENTION'S SPEAKER LINEUP IS LARGELY WHITE. Most of the speakers scheduled so far for this week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland have at least one thing in common: They're white. Although there are still three days until Donald Trump is expected to take the stage at the Quicken Loans Arena to accept the GOP presidential nomination, the list of 63 speakers scheduled so far includes only three black people: Cleveland pastor Darrel Scott, former GOP presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. According to ABC’s MORGAN WINSOR, the complexion of speakers was similar at the Republican National Convention in 2012, when Mitt Romney accepted the party’s nomination for president.


IVANKA TRUMP REACTS TO GOP LEADERS NOT ATTENDING THE CONVENTION. Ivanka Trump said the presidential campaign of her father, Donald Trump, is a “forward-looking moment.” The 34-year-old also said she is not hurt that major figures in the Republican Party -- George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain and Ohio Gov. John Kasich among them -- will not be attending the Republican National Convention, which kicked off Monday in Cleveland. “That’s their choice if they don’t want to be part of the narrative, if they don’t want to be part of the future,” Ivanka Trump told “Good Morning America” co-anchor Lara Spencer in an interview Monday in New York City. “But this really is about a forward-looking moment.” ABC’s JOHN SANTUCCI, KATIE KINDELAN, and KAITLYN FOLMER have more.

‘DELI-GATES’: LOCAL GOP DELEGATES TALK POLITICS OVER DELI SANDWICHES. It’s Day 1 of the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland and the kickoff of a special convention series with ABC’s JONATHAN KARL: “Deli-gates.” At both the Republican and Democratic conventions, Karl will offer a taste of convention politics mixed with local fare through conversation with floor delegates over deli sandwiches. This week, Karl sat down with three Republican convention delegates at Slyman’s Deli in Cleveland -- all of whom had varying levels of enthusiasm for Trump, but were united in their plans to get in line with Trump as the party’s nominee. ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS has more.

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 40 YEARS, A COMPLETE ABSENCE OF BUSHES AT THE GOP CONVENTION. For the first time in 40 years, and only the second time since 1956, not a single member of the Bush family is taking part in the RNC, ABC’s JONATHAN KARL notes. Neither of the two former presidents, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, nor former Florida governor and 2016 candidate Jeb Bush, are in Cleveland for the party's convention now underway. Even the rising star of the Bush political dynasty, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who first spoke at a convention at the age of 12 in 1988, is skipping.


GROWING INFLUENCE OF REALITY TV FRONT AND CENTER AT 2016 RNC. Reality television, once considered the "lowest form of television entertainment," has been elevated to center of America's political discourse at the RNC in 2016 thanks to Donald Trump, according to a media analyst who spoke to ABC News, ABC’s MICHAEL EDISON HAYDEN writes. Mary Murphy, a senior lecturer at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, told ABC News in a phone conversation that the prominence of reality stars at the RNC -- including speakers Willie Robertson, Scott Baio, Antonio Sabato Jr., and U.S. Rep Sean Duffy and Rachel Campos-Duffy -- is evidence of the "growing power of the medium."

--SCOTT BAIO: THERE WILL BE HAPPY DAYS WITH TRUMP AS PRESIDENT. Chachi loves Donnie. Scott Baio -- known for his role on "Charles in Charge" and other sitcoms -- spoke at the Republican National Convention tonight to endorse Donald Trump, asking voters to "make America 'America' again." Baio, an outspoken Republican for many years, gave a short, impassioned speech, arguing that "the things we hold dear are being attacked" and that Trump was the best person to keep the country safe from harm.

--ANTONIO SABATO JR. ‘ABSOLUTELY’ SURE OBAMA’S A MUSLIM. Actor, former underwear model, and reality show star Antonio Sabato Jr. -- who stumped for Donald Trump on the floor of the Republican National Convention Monday -- told ABC News that he "absolutely" believes President Obama is a Muslim, ABC’s MICHAEL EDISON HAYDEN reports. "We had a Muslim president for seven and half years," Sabato Jr. said, adding "I don't believe he is [a Christian]." Trump himself has repeatedly questioned whether the president is an American and if he is a Muslim and spearheaded the "birther" movement.



CLINTON DECRIES POLICE KILLINGS, OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTINGS AT NAACP ANNUAL CONFERENCE. Hillary Clinton yesterday decried the Louisiana shooting that left three police officers dead and three wounded, telling the NAACP it was a “terrible crime,” ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ and MORGAN WINSOR report.  "This madness has to stop," she said at the civil rights organization’s annual conference in Cincinnati. A former U.S. Marine shot the officers Sunday in Baton Rouge. "Watching the news from Baton Rouge yesterday, my heart broke. Not just for those officers and their grieving families, but for all of us," Clinton said.

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