Since the discovery of plagiarism in Melania Trump’s speech to the RNC last night, prominent Republicans have tried, almost valiantly, to proffer compelling defenses of the speech’s blatant thievery. The Trump campaign, in keeping with its tried and true strategy of bulldozing its way forward from controversies, decided to deny the speech was plagiarized at all, with campaign chair Paul Manafort telling reporters that the phrases lifted were no more than “common words.” “[T]his concept that Michelle Obama invented the English language is absurd,” campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson added in an interview this morning.
This afternoon, the RNC itself took up Trump’s cause. RNC communications director and chief strategist Sean Spicer appeared on CNN to shore up the Trump campaign’s defenses.
This is a man who has done countless interviews and spent over a decade massaging messages and providing media training for Republicans and their press secretaries. If there was anyone in the upper echelons of the RNC capable of doing the Rio-worthy evasive gymnastics required to paper over this controversy, it would have been Spicer. Instead, he said this:
Melania Trump said, “You work hard for what you get in life.” John Legend said, “Work hard to be anything you want in life.” Kid Rock said. “Work hard to be anything you want in life.”
The first unspoken rule of crisis PR management should be to avoid the appearance that whatever defense of the indefensible you happen to be offering is the product of a Google search. This appeal to the widely revered oratory of John Legend and Kid Rock would have been embarrassing enough. But there’s more.
Melania Trump said, “The strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.” Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony said, “This is your dream. Anything you can do in your dreams you can do now.”
Legend released his official response on Twitter, but Twilight Sparkle (R-Ponyville) could not be reached for comment.