The Trump Campaign Didn’t Think Much of Melania’s Speech Either

Campaign filings show that you get what you pay for.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


When large sections of Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention turned out to be lifted from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech, the Trump campaign tried to deflect criticism by throwing the speechwriter under the bus (after initially insisting Melania wrote the speech herself). The campaign went so far as to release an apology letter from the writer, Meredith McIver.

But in doing so, the campaign created another problem, because McIver doesn’t work for the campaign. She’s an employee of the Trump Organization, Donald Trump’s business empire. A basic rule of campaign finance is that if an employee of a corporation does work for a campaign, it counts as a corporate contribution, and corporations are not allowed to donate to campaigns.

To get around that, the campaign had to pay McIver for her work on Melania’s speech. In the latest campaign filings, McIver is listed on the payroll of the campaign—for a grand total of $356.01. The payment, which occurred on July 23, five days after the speech, marks the one and only time McIver has been paid by the campaign.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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

We Recommend

Latest