Social media outlets lit up Tuesday with jokes surrounding the Melania Trump plagiarism allegations, as people mockingly attributed to Mrs. Trump such famous lines as Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” and parts of the Gettysburg Address.
The hashtag #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes popped up on Twitter soon after it was pointed out that a few lines in Mrs. Trump’s speech from Monday’s Republican National Convention were almost identical to ones delivered by Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
Tweets on the topic ranged from rap lyrics to jokes to lines from historic speeches, all attributed to Mrs. Trump.
Jesse Williams, the outspoken “Grey’s Anatomy” actor, was one of the most active users of the hashtag. In one tweet, he mockingly quoted Mrs. Trump as saying, “I have a dream.” Tweets from other users joked that Mrs. Trump thanked her speechwriters, “Copy and Paste” and Milli Vanilli, a reference to the R&B duo exposed for lip synching others’ vocals.
Others didn’t seem to find humor in the similarities.
“White privilege is when you steal a black woman’s speech, and just get a slap on the wrist for it,” tweeted Lori-Anne Penrose, a 21-year-old recent college graduate from New York.
“It enrages me that Melania stole something that was so eloquently spoken by the current first lady,” Penrose told The Associated Press in an e-mail. “It’s crazy how the first time she is getting real publicity by the masses is by an act of fraud.”
Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort dismissed the allegations on CNN Tuesday morning as “just absurd.”
Supporters of Donald Trump were quick to defend his wife. Some, like 31-year-old Ximena Barreto, of San Diego, responded by accusing President Barack Obama of plagiarism in past speeches. She said Democrats are being “hypocritical.”
“It’s all about empowering women but here they are bashing her for a speech and her looks nonstop and not her substance,” she said in a Twitter message, adding that Mrs. Trump’s message “was very generic.”
One person who didn’t use the hashtag is Mrs. Trump herself. Her account posted a brief statement on the speech, calling it “beautiful.”