Tom Jackson: Trump camp unfairly throws Melania under the bus
So much for the idea that Donald Trump always hires “the best people.” After the debacle that embarrassed his wife while undermining the otherwise effectively arranged message of opening night at the Republican National Convention, it’s plain Trump doesn’t even hire the best software.
Listen, nobody has missed the fact that, from the get-go, the alleged billionaire businessman has been running his campaign for president on the cheap. And, with about a billion dollars in free media that helped steamroll the strongest GOP presidential field since Ronald Reagan ran for reelection in 1984, he’s made an eye-popping success of penny pinching.
It reminds me of what my mother-in-law used to say about certain acquaintances who were both wealthy and cheap. “That’s why they’re rich; they never spend a dime.”
But when hoarding is a higher priority than excellence, you shouldn’t be shocked when things go awry. Still, if there wasn’t room in the skinflint’s budget for back-readers, you’d think they’d at least have sprung for decent plagiarism software.
Heck, if you’re that into scrimping, grammarly.com checks text against 8 billion pages free. Enter one of the key offending phrases — that part about what Mrs. Trump learned from her parents, and what she continues to pass onto her son — and the program reports in bold capital letters, “significant plagiarism.”
But that, evidently, didn’t happen. And now, instead of reporting on an endearing, uplifting speech, and recalling how our hearts leapt when this former international supermodel proclaimed this above all else — American citizenship — is “the greatest privilege on planet Earth”; instead of contrasting her pride in what she earned against Michelle Obama’s infamously late-blooming and conditional pride in her country; instead of marveling at Melania’s poised delivery — in her fifth language, no less — we’re caught up in a two-bit plagiarism kerfuffle over boilerplate phraseology in which Melania detractors are trying to convince us “your word is your bond” constitutes exotic wordsmithery.
Writers are digging it. Democrats are digging it. Pundits are digging it. Regular folks? I’m not so sure. A Facebook friend wants to know where her father goes to get restitution from Michelle’s ghostwriter, whom she’s convinced cribbed from speeches she heard growing up.
Also notable are the outstanding charges of plagiarism against high-ranking Democrats, its highest-ranking — Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton (who stole copiously from rival Bernie Sanders throughout the primaries) — among them. And that’s not even getting into the next Democrat in the presidential queue, Cory Booker, the serial fabulist and New Jersey senator.
Still, you don’t need happening to the wife of the candidate what happened to Melania Trump. It should have been the most-vetted speech of the campaign. But bad stuff happens when you don’t care much about the details, and, from the get-go, Donald Trump has seemed indifferent to small things.
This strikes me as bizarre, considering how meticulous he is about the buildings and golf resorts that bear his name. Forgive me for repeating myself, but golf.com reports the halfway house at the redesigned Trump Turnberry links in southwest Scotland is so spectacular, you might want to skip the second nine.
But as a candidate, Trump doesn’t do prep. Asked twice by radio host and debate interrogator Hugh Hewitt how he would address America’s aging nuclear triad, Trump babbled witlessly. Asked about his proposed replacement for Obamacare, which he says he wants done away with, he talked incoherently about lines around states.
Details, schmetails. Trump’s supporters hear in his rambling the clear message of their shared vision of America. And they believe him when he says he’s going to hire the best people.
Really? Would the best people have allowed Melania Trump to screw up her courage only to get screwed by her speechwriter? Would the best people have gone to war, feeding the news and social media and turning an unforced stumble into a multi-day story that, handled with proper humility and a ritualistic firing, would have been over by noon?
Would the best people have let this narrative of disorganization, amateur antics and baseless argumentation linger through the night their guy was officially nominated?
The Trump campaign did all of that, and worse.
The best people? The evidence, so far, is not convincing.