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Melania Trump faces new plagiarism row over cyber safety booklet


Melania TrumpImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Melania Trump at the White House for the launch of her “Be Best” initiative

US First Lady Melania Trump has been caught up in another plagiarism row, following the launch of her new online safety for children campaign on Monday.

A booklet put out by Mrs Trump bore a striking resemblance to one published under the Obama administration.

The text and graphics of the “Be Best” booklet were nearly identical to those in the previous edition.

In 2016 Mrs Trump was accused of plagiarising parts of a speech from a 2008 address by Michelle Obama.

After commentators picked up on very close similarities between the two speeches, Meredith McIver, a Trump administration staff member who wrote Mrs Trump’s speech, admitted borrowing from Mrs Obama.

Mrs Trump’s online safety booklet was initially billed on the initiative’s website as being “by First Lady Melania Trump and the Federal Trade Commission”.

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After similarities to the Obama-era edition were picked up online, the text was revised to describe it as a “Federal Trade Commission booklet, promoted by First Lady Melania Trump”.

Image caption

A sample from the two booklets: 2014 on the right, and the Melania Trump version on the left

Launching the “Be Best” initiative at the White House on Monday, Mrs Trump said the aim was to promote healthy living, encourage positive use of social media, and combat opioid abuse.

“As we all know, social media can be both positively and negatively affect our children, but too often it is used in negative ways,” she said.

Her decision to focus on cyberbullying has prompted questions about the behaviour of her husband, who frequently uses Twitter to attack and insult his opponents.

Image caption

The 2014 version., left, and Melania Trump version, right

Mr Trump was widely criticised in 2017 when he used the platform to call TV hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and “Psycho Joe”, and claimed he saw Ms Brzezinski “bleeding badly from a face-lift”.

He has also been accused of mocking a disabled reporter.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked ahead of the launch of the initiative whether President Trump believed he bore any responsibility for the need to address cyberbullying.

“I think the idea that you’re trying to blame cyberbullying on the president is kind of ridiculous,” she said.



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