Trump Corporate Writer Takes the Blame for Speech in Plagiarism Scandal

The Trump Organization employee says she offered to resign.

AP Photos

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

After spending Tuesday denying that a speech Monday night by Melania Trump that borrowed substantial passages from a Michelle Obama speech constituted plagiarism, and insisting that Melania Trump wrote the speech herself, the Trump campaign released a letter from a writer employed by the Trump Organization accepting blame for using Obama’s words and writing the speech for Melania.

Meredith McIver, who identifies herself in the letter as an in-house staff writer for the Trump Organization, wrote that she had spoken to Melania Trump over the phone, and after Trump said she admired Michelle Obama and some of her speeches, wrote those concepts into the speech that Trump gave Monday night. McIver, who helped Donald Trump write several books, apologized for using Obama’s words and wrote that she had offered to resign, but Trump refused to accept the resignation.

The change in course is particularly striking because barely 24 hours earlier, Paul Manafort, the campaign’s chairman, had lashed out at critics, firmly brushing aside the idea that there was any plagiarism whatsoever.

The campaign, which was already under fire for not having the usual staff and safeguards to ensure nothing like the plagiarism allegations arises, may have actually opened up a new box of trouble. Not only does she identify herself as an employee of the Trump Organization, but her letter to the public is on Trump Organization letterhead. If McIver wrote the speech as an employee of the company, it might mean Donald Trump is mixing his corporate resources with the campaign’s resources, a big no-no under Federal Election Commission rules.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend