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Writer behind Melania Trump speech accused of plagiarism offers resignation

Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, speaks during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

CLEVELAND — The writer behind the speech that wound up with plagiarism accusations flying at Donald Trump’s wife has offered her resignation.

Meredith McIver offered to resign after a speech by Melania Trump sparked accusations of plagiarism. McIver took responsibility for the similar lines.

“In working with Melania Trump on her recent first lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people,” McIver wrote in a statement. “A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama. Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples.

“I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. That was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant.”

Trump’s campaign turned down McIver’s offer, treating it as a learning experience.

“Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences,” she said in the statement.

McIver said she decided to release the statement to prevent the allegations from further distracting from Trump’s campaign.

In Mrs. Trump’s speech in Cleveland, 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. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life.”

In Mrs. Obama’s 2008 speech in Denver, she said: “And 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, that you do what you say you’re going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them and even if you don’t agree with them.”

Another passage with notable similarities that follows two sentences later in Mrs. Trump’s speech addresses her attempts to instill those values in her son.

“We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow,” Mrs. Trump said. “Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

In the first lady’s 2008 speech, she said, “Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them onto the next generation, because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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