For the past two days, the campaign has insisted that nothing was wrong with the speech. It wasn’t plagiarized, campaign aides insisted. Melania was only using the same cliches everyone else in the political world uses. Trump himself on Wednesday morning said the coverage of the plagiarism scandal could be a net positive for his campaign.
(Fact check: Melania’s speech did not get more publicity than any other speech in the history of politics.)
But on Wednesday afternoon, Meredith McIver, “an in-house staff writer at the Trump Organization,” stepped forward and accepted responsibility.
This is a remarkable document for a few reasons. First, Trump has refused her resignation, apparently in keeping with his refusal to ever admit wrongdoing. This statement is trying to walk a fine line where McIver admits to have done something wrong but isn’t quite held responsible for it. Second, this is still sloppy as hell, and it reflects very badly on the professionalism of the Trump campaign and Melania Trump. Third, McIver somewhat references the “confusion and hysteria” that followed Melania’s speech, but that confusion was caused by the Trump campaign, which chose to wait 36 hours to identify McIver as the author of the speech and—more outlandishly—instructed its surrogates to go on TV and claim, erroneously, that the speech was not plagiarized. And finally, admitting that Melania has “always liked” Michelle Obama is a very, very strange touch, given the general tenor of the campaign and the fact that Trump’s entire message is built around appealing to people who think that she is the health food antichrist.