Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, sparked controversy on the first day of the party’s National Convention last night after she was accused of plagiarising First Lady Michelle Obama in her speech and of wearing ‘blackface’.
Viewers of the convention’s opening noticed several similarities between Mrs Trump’s speech and that by Mrs Obama in 2008, most notably when she claimed: “The values we share as African-Americans are what make Donald and I so symbiotic”.
Pundits also observed that Mrs Trump was “distinctly more tan” than usual.
Mrs Trump was also criticised for opening her speech by singing: “Now this is a story all about how, my life got flipped-turned upside down, and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became the bride of a guy called Donald Trump.”
This negative vibe was only compounded later, when she took a break from her speech to dab her armpits with a napkin featuring Barack Obama’s face and tell the crowd: “This heat, huh? I’ll tell you, I need it like a brother needs a hole in the head, you dig?”
The display was widely condemned by Democrats who accused the Trumps of racial insensitivity during a period of simmering tensions, and the scandal comes fresh off the back of initial Trump running mate Mark Fuhrman stepping down after tape recordings emerged in which he can be heard making 9/11 jokes and dismissing recent shootings of Black Americans as “just necessary pruning”.
Three police officers were killed during a shooting spree in Baton Rouge two days ago, just ten days after Micah Johnson murdered five others in Dallas in reputed retribution for the unlawful deaths of several African-Americans, traumatic events which made one TV critic say: “This is going to be the darkest season of Cops ever.”
And the mimicry by Mrs Trump of Mrs Obama will only heighten the conflicts created by recent events, according to political correspondent James Knochenmus, who said that: “Unfortunately, we live in an age where dressing like a minstrel will go down terribly, and Melania should know that.”
Prior to the address, Mrs Trump told NBC’s Matt Lauer that she had written the speech herself with little help from others, but the campaign’s senior communications advisor contradicted this claim by saying the piece was written mostly by other writers, including Mrs Obama and Bill Hicks.
A senior insider within the Trump campaign exclusively told The Daily Belter that Mrs Trump was “as usual, following Don’s orders” and that Mrs Obama was chosen as a template because “she’s good and people like her, she’s the First Lady, she’s a great lady, she’s great, Don likes her.”
Despite criticism, Trump was quick to defend his wife, telling reporters: “Melania’s great, she’s a beautiful woman and a smart woman, she’s been through it all, she’s smelled the coffee and it smelled great, she’s my kind of woman, I’ve been married three times, she’s three times the woman the others were, if I combined my two ex-wives they wouldn’t be as great as Melania, and that’s a big woman, a bigger woman than we’ve ever seen, some kind of superwoman, you’d see her from space and I’d make them pay for it.”
Melania Trump, born Melanija Knavs in Slovenia of the former Yugoslavia, has been married to Trump since 2005, and despite being uninterested in the flan-haired bronze glob, she agreed to date and then marry him after he blackmailed her by threatening to expose her father as a communist.
The presidential candidate will surely not welcome another negative distraction in a week in which he lost a potential vice-president and had his own fidelity questioned by the erotic nature of the Trump-Pence campaign logo, which appears to show a T penetrating a P, possibly without consent.
Even recent endorsements from celebrities Mel Gibson, Michael Richards and Paula Deen have failed to fully dislodge the dark cloud above Trump’s head, especially after the ill-judged convention also included a ‘Make America Safe Again’ campaign piece in which various Republican voters emotively blamed President Obama and Hilary Clinton for mass illegal immigration, the rise of allergies, the dust bowl depression and the death of Jesus Christ.
Indeed, although polls suggest that Trump still stands a healthy chance of making it all the way to the White House, there is a sense that his campaign to become President is at risk of becoming farcical during an era well known for being sensible.