Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Stands by Defense of Melania Trump Over 'Speechgate'

Paul Manafort downplayed similarities between her speech and Michelle Obama's.

ByABC News
July 20, 2016, 8:09 AM

— -- Donald Trump’s campaign chairman continued to defend Melania Trump today amid nagging criticism over her address at the opening night of the Republican National Convention.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” Paul Manafort downplayed the similarities between Melania Trump’s speech and Michelle Obama’s address to the Democratic National Convention eight years ago.

“We’re talking about 50 words out of fourteen hundred,” Manafort said. “They’re part of the speech but the speech itself talks about her immigrant status, her love of country, her love of husband. These are her stories, these are her messages.”

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reported that a family friend helped write the passages in question. But Manafort, a longtime Republican strategist who has previously advised the presidential campaigns of Gerald Ford, Ronald Regan, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain, denied that anyone other than Melania Trump wrote the speech.

“As far as we’re concerned, the speech is Melania’s speech,” he said on “GMA” this morning. “What she communicates to the American people Monday night is a genuine message from her heart. And as far as we’re concerned, that’s the end of it.”

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