The Latest: Gingrich: Melania Trump speech uproar ‘baloney’


CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on the Republican National Convention (all times EDT):

10:40 a.m.

Newt Gingrich is calling the uproar over Melania Trump’s speech “baloney.”

In an interview Tuesday, the former House speaker dismissed the issue and pointed out that Vice President Joe Biden abandoned his presidential bid in 1988 for taking parts of British leader Neil Kinnock’s speech and President Barack Obama took heat for copying some of former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s speech.

“It’s a little ripe for the news media to suddenly find how pure they are,” Gingrich said.

Two sections of Melania Trump’s speech were nearly word-for-word from Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic convention in 2008.

Gingrich said it was an effective speech and “I’ll be glad to match our first spouse against Bill Clinton’s first spouse next week. And let people decide which of those two first spouses you want.”

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9:35 a.m.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says he disagrees with the Trump campaign’s sharp criticism of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose state is hosting the GOP convention.

Priebus says Kasich is a “fantastic governor” and one of the best in the country. His comments come a day after top adviser Paul Manafort called Kasich “petulant” for not attending the convention or endorsing the presumptive Republican nominee.

Manafort’s comments undercut the campaign’s efforts to portray the GOP has united coming out of the Cleveland convention. In trying to explain Manafort’s comments, Ryan says “campaigns get hot and rhetoric gets hot.”

Priebus spoke to reporters at a Bloomberg breakfast.

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9:20 a.m.

Donald Trump’s campaign chairman says he would fire anyone who copied parts of first lady Michelle Obama’s speech into Melania Trump’s address to the Republican convention Monday night. But Paul Manafort added that he doesn’t believe there was plagiarism.

Manafort told The Associated Press Tuesday that he agrees with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ remark that he would probably fire anyone responsible for plagiarizing. Manafort said, “Frankly if I knew somebody did it, I would fire them too.”

Manafort added that “nobody believes” Mrs. Trump plagiarized the speech.

He said, “There were a few words on it, but they’re not words that were unique words. Ninety-nine percent of that speech talked about her being an immigrant and love of country and love of family and everything else.”

Manafort added in the brief interview, “This is totally blown out of proportion.”

He continued, “They’re not even sentences. They’re literally phrases.”

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9:10 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan plans to tell the Republican National Convention that the country can make the changes it needs only with Republican majorities in Congress — and Donald Trump in the White House.

The Wisconsin Republican also will call for unity for the GOP and for the country. And he will offer a contrast with the “failed progressivism” of the Obama years.

That’s according to a preview of the speaker’s remarks released by aides Tuesday ahead of Ryan’s nighttime speech. He will also talk about the “sense of urgency” of this election.

Ryan will be among several congressional leaders taking the stage in Cleveland Tuesday night. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also will speak.

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8:54 a.m.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus says he would “probably” fire his speechwriters if they lifted passages from someone else’s remarks.

However, Priebus says he doesn’t “have a view yet” on whether Melania Trump’s convention speech included plagiarized sentences from a 2008 Michelle Obama address. Priebus praised Mrs. Trump for her “inspirational” remarks, particularly her story of immigrating from Slovenia.

He acknowledged the controversy was a “distraction” but said he expected the convention to get back on message Tuesday.

Priebus spoke to reporters at a Bloomberg breakfast.

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8:10 a.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is playing down criticism over lifted passages in Melania Trump’s convention remarks, saying “93 percent of the speech is completely different” than a speech first lady Michelle Obama delivered eight years ago.

Christie said Tuesday that Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Obama “expressed some common thoughts.” He did not explain how he arrived at the 93 percent figure.

Speaking on NBC’s “Today” show, Christie said “a lot” of what he heard from Mrs. Trump “sounded very much like her and the way she speaks about Donald all the time.” He said on the first day of a party convention “everybody gets breathless about something to cover and a controversy to talk about.”

Christie predicted no one would be talking about the issue after Tuesday.

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7:44 a.m.

Donald Trump’s oldest daughter says senior Republican figures who are not attending this week’s national convention “don’t want to be part of the narrative, they don’t want to be part of the future.”

They include former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, former Republican nominee Mitt Romney and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Ivanka Trump also told ABC News that she worries about her father’s safety on the campaign trail but she is equally as worried about the security of the American people.

The interview aired Tuesday.

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7:00 a.m.

Donald Trump’s campaign chairman says it’s “just absurd” to claim that Melania Trump lifted two passages nearly word-for-word from the speech that first lady Michelle Obama delivered in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention.

Paul Manafort told CNN Tuesday morning that “there’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech.”

He added that, “there’s no feeling on her part that she did it.”

Manafort suggested that Mrs. Trump was merely using “words that are common words.”

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6:27 a.m.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes says he might have “made the wrong call” in not allowing debate over Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King’s questioning of what groups of people have contributed more to civilization than whites.

King’s comments from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland sparked a heated response from Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan and Esquire writer Charles Pierce, who were also on the panel. Hayes quickly moved on with the segment after the comments.

In a later conversation between Ryan and Hayes on Periscope, Ryan said she was “kind of shaken” by what she described as King’s “in my face racism.” Hayes said he thought during the segment that a debate on “what’s the best race” would be “preposterous.”

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6:00 a.m.

Actor and model Antonio Sabato Jr. says he believes President Barack Obama is Muslim.

In an interview with ABC News following his speech in favor of Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland Monday, Sabato responded “absolutely” when asked whether he thought Obama was a Muslim, adding that “he grew up in that world. That’s where he comes from.”

Obama is a Christian. He was born in Hawaii. His father was from Kenya.

Sabato also claims Obama has more of an allegiance to “the Middle East” than the United States, saying “he’s with the bad guys. He’s with them, he’s not with us. He’s not with this country.”

The former Calvin Klein underwear model and “General Hospital” star has also appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” and “Melrose Place.”

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3:11 a.m.

Barring a last-minute jolt to the proceedings, Donald Trump is about to attain his party’s presidential nomination.

This, despite efforts to stop him that spilled messily into the opening of the Republican National Convention. As his wife, Melania, put it from the stage on Monday night, “It would not be a Trump contest without excitement and drama.”

Instead of a manicured message of unity, viewers saw the fractured face of a party still coming to grips with Trump as nominee. But the roll call of states Tuesday night is on track to deliver him the prize.

The convention’s opening night had a high note as Mrs. Trump spoke on behalf of her husband. But two passages from her speech strikingly resembled words spoken by Michelle Obama in 2008.