As the convention season heads toward its finish, more speech-plagiarism accusations have emerged. And this time, the tables have turned. Donald Trump Jr. accused President Obama of plagiarizing his convention speech via Twitter on Wednesday morning, calling out the president for using the line, “That’s not the America that I know.” Both the president and Donald Jr. used the phrase in speeches at their party’s respective conventions.
Despite the identical phrase, NBC News points out that the context of the words were very different — Donald Jr. used the line in reference to inertia in the face of a need to change the country for the better, while Obama used it in regards to the “pessimistic” rhetoric of the Republican National Convention. Moreover, the sentence is a rhetorical phrase hardly original to Donald Jr.’s speech. Obama previously used the line in his speech memorializing the slain Dallas, TX, police officers in mid-July, and his predecessor President George W. Bush used it in a speech a few days after 9/11, over a decade ago. Even non-American politicians have used the phrase. London Mayor Sadiq Khan used the line in reference to the policies of Donald Jr.’s own father, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in an interview with CNN in May. Donald Jr.’s claims of theft come about a week after his stepmother, Melania Trump, faced down accusations of plagiarism in her own convention speech. Melania’s speech was accused of plagiarizing approximately two paragraphs of material very similar in phrasing and context to one delivered by Michelle Obama in 2008, from passages citing values of hard work, honor, and respect. The Trump campaign initially denied the accusations, with one RNC official asserting to CNN that the lines were generic sentiments shared by many others, including a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic character. A Trump Organization employee later took the blame for the plagiarism, saying in a statement shared by the Trump campaign that she did not correctly check sources for the speech.