Melania Trump's "Be Best" program was quickly mocked for its slogan and logo, but less than an hour after her presentation of the "new" program to help children make better choices, one enterprising blogger noticed the booklet accompanying it was plagiarized, verbatim, from an Obama-era FTC publication.
Calling charges of copying and cribbing "baseless accusations," the White House is now on the attack, defending the First Lady, insisting it's not plagiarism, but merely rebranding.
"Mrs. Trump agreed to add Be Best branding and distribute the booklet in an effort to use her platform to amplify the positive message within," the First Lady's Communications Director said in a statement Tuesday.
That makes it sound like she was doing the FTC a favor, as if they came begging to her.
A quick look at the Internet Archive shows the original languageon the White House's Be Best website refers to the program's documentation as "a booklet by First Lady Melania Trump and the Federal Trade Commission."
That sounds like they spent countless hours creating something brand new.
The language on the website was secretly changed, literally under cover of darkness, sometime between 7:19 PM and 11:39 PM.
The new language calls it "a Federal Trade Commission booklet, promoted by First Lady Melania Trump."
That's a big difference, and clearly reveals the attempt to plagiarize – or at least to take credit for work that was not hers, and cover that up.
Perhaps if this were the first time Mrs. Trump had plagiarized Americans would be disinclined to highlight the audacious pirating.
But Melania Trump also plagiarized Michelle Obama in her speech to the RNC.
So, there's a pattern here.
In the White House statement defending the First Lady, her communications director also took a swipe at reporters, which is all but required these days by Trump administration staffers.
"Our office will continue to focus on helping children and I encourage members of the media to attempt to Be Best in their own professions," it concludes.