Nearly 24 hours after Melania Trump stood in front of America and read Michelle Obama’s words, we still do not have a satisfactory answer to that question.
In a normal campaign, a fall guy would have been identified and probably fired almost immediately. But the Trump campaign is not a normal campaign and it is sticking to its story: Melania Trump wrote her own speech.
This is, at first glance, a startling response: The candidate’s wife is seemingly taking the fall for a speech that she probably did not write. But it makes sense if you look at the way Trump has done (or, more accurately, not done) damage control in the past. Trump has refused to admit being wrong or doing any wrong throughout the campaign: Melania’s speech is no different. Because the Trump campaign refuses to admit that the speech contained a plagiarized passage, Melania can continue to be its author because what’s wrong with being the author of a speech that contained no plagiarized passages?
That reluctance to fire lends a hair of credence to the idea that Melania Trump is responsible for plagiarizing her speech. It’s hard to imagine that a chauvinist like Trump would take kindly to one of his employees publicly humiliating his wife. That fact, combined with the idea that Trump doesn’t like firing people without extreme cause (see: Lewandowski, Corey), suggest that maybe Melania wrote the speech after all!
But it’s hard to imagine that Melania Trump, who has never given a major political speech, would be allowed to write a speech without help. Two of the writers who did work on the speech said that what Melania read on Monday wasn’t their work:
Rick Gates, a Paul Manafort aide, is another leading suspect, but the Trump campaign denied that he had any speechwriting responsibilities. A day after Melania Trump stole Michelle Obama’s words, we have no idea who was actually responsible for the theft. (Lewandowski did it.)
Update: OK, now things are getting out of hand.