A Laid Off TV Reporter at an LA Starbucks Was the First to Uncover Borrowed Passages in Melania Trump’s Convention Speech

Jarrett Hill describes his reaction in an L.A. Starbucks when he realized, and tweeted, that portions of Michelle Obama's 2008 speech were seemingly plagiarized by Melania Trump at the Republican National Convention on Monday night. (PHOTO CREDIT: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Jarrett Hill describes his reaction in an L.A. Starbucks when he realized, and tweeted, that portions of Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech were seemingly plagiarized by Melania Trump at the Republican National Convention on Monday night. (PHOTO CREDIT: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Since he lost his TV reporting job last year, Jarrett Hill has been looking for his next opportunity. It presented itself in an unexpected way.

Hill was sitting at a corner table Monday night in a Culver City Starbucks, drinking a venti iced coffee and watching the Republican National Convention on an MSNBC live stream. As Melania Trump spoke, she uttered a phrase that the 31-year-old California native had heard once before — from first lady Michelle Obama.

“The only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams …, ” Melania Trump said during her address to the Republican National Convention.

Instinctively, Hill finished the phrase aloud to his laptop screen: “ … and your willingness to work for them.”

“Kind of like a song that you haven’t heard in a long time and you remember the lyrics as you hear them. Or a movie that you know the line to and you kind of respond to it,” he said.

He recalled the words from Michelle Obama’s speech because, he said, he had thought to himself at the time that it was “really beautifully written.”

“I believe I even wrote it down or typed it,” Hill said. “Obviously having no idea that eight years later I’d hear them again from a woman who wanted to be first lady speaking at a convention in front of 40 million people.”

When Hill googled Michelle Obama and parts of her memorable turn of phrase, her 2008 convention speech popped up. An hour later, after he had watched Melania Trump’s full speech again, he realized more than just a few words had been borrowed.

“That’s when it dawned on me, ‘Oh, this wasn’t like a line that happened to be similar,’” Hill said. “This is a paragraph of text that’s way too similar to be coincidental.”

Hill took to Twitter to share his discovery. He apparently was the first person to publicly note the similarities between the speeches.

The discovery prompted headlines across media outlets and flooded Hill with interview requests worldwide.

One of Hill’s tweets, highlighting text from Michelle Obama’s speech and sharing a link to a video of Melania Trump’s speech, states: “CORRECTION: Melania stole a whole graph from Michelle’s speech.”

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SOURCE: LA Times, Brittny Mejia