Whether or not Melania Trump cribbed a passage from a Michelle Obama speech, there is one crucial sentiment Donald Trump’s Slovenian-born wife certainly didn’t copy from Obama’s — the inherent pride of being an American citizen.
As the media pores over one passage in Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention speech that is similar to Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention, they overlook a key sentence that was undeniably written by Mrs. Trump and reveals all the difference in the world between these two women and their husbands.
“On July 28th, 2006, I was very proud to become a citizen of the United States — the greatest privilege on planet Earth,” the smiling Mrs. Trump said to thunderous applause.
Speaking with the thick accent of a non-native speaker, she flubbed the word “citizen” for “citizens,” but everyone understood her meaning, and that endearing verbal quirk and the obvious pride with which she said those words was immediately recognizable to those of us who come from immigrant families.
My grandmother, a Lebanese war orphan who was saved by the American Red Cross after World War I, would have whole-heartedly echoed Melania Trump’s sentiments. Both my immigrant grandparents adored this country and sent their sons to fight for it in World War II and Korea.
In fact, because my grandmother had no birth records due to the Great War, the immigration officials at Ellis Island made July 4th her birthday – which has been a further source of patriotic pride for my family because our American story was “born on the Fourth of July.”
What a difference these sentiments are to Michelle Obama’s infamous remarks during the 2008 campaign, when she said, “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country.”
Why was she suddenly proud “for the first time” in her “adult life”? Because her husband was running for president.
Contrast that with Melania Trump’s inherent pride in being an American citizen, which in her words is “the greatest privilege on planet Earth.”
That was the most important line in Melania Trump’s speech.
And she didn’t steal it from Michelle Obama.