CLEVELAND — Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has no plans to fire anybody on the campaign or to take any disciplinary action against anyone for the Melania Trump speech plagiarism controversy, CNN learned Tuesday.
As campaign chairman Paul Manafort indicated at his morning news conference, the campaign’s posture is to simply move on from this without addressing it any further.
Manafort denied allegations that Melania Trump plagiarized a Michelle Obama speech on the first night of the Republican National Convention, calling the accusation “just really absurd.”
“To think that she would do something like that knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd,” Manafort told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.”
At least one passage in Trump’s speech Monday night plagiarized from Obama’s address to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
Side-by-side comparisons of the transcripts show the text in Trump’s address following, nearly to the word, the would-be future first lady’s own from the first night of the Democratic convention in Denver nearly eight years ago.
Sources familiar with the campaign's handling of Melania Trump's speech identify top Manafort deputy Rick Gates as the person inside the campaign who oversaw the entire speech process for Melania Trump.
Gates is denying he oversaw the Melania speech process.
When CNN's Jim Acosta asked Gates if he oversaw the Melania speech process, he said "absolutely not."
Two sources said that Donald Trump is furious over the episode.
New Jersey governor and Donald Trump ally Chris Christie defended the speech, saying, "There's no way that Melania Trump was plagiarizing Michelle Obama's speech."
"I just don't see it," Christie told CNN's Jamie Gangel in an interview Tuesday, adding later, "If we're talking about 7% of a speech, that was really, universally considered to be a good performance by Melania. I know her. There's no way that Melania Trump was plagiarizing Michelle Obama's speech."
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said at a Bloomberg Politics event Tuesday morning he'd "probably" fire whoever was responsible for including plagiarized quotes, though he added, "It all kinda depends on the circumstances and how these things are written."
Manafort said on "New Day" the words Melania used were not "cribbed" but are common words.
"There's no cribbing of Michelle Obama's speech. These were common words and values. She cares about her family," Manafort said. "To think that she'd be cribbing Michelle Obama's words is crazy."
The East Wing and White House declined to comment on the plagiarism story Tuesday.
Manafort said attacks on Trump's speech are due to Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, being "threatened" by Trump.
"This is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, she seeks out to demean her and take her down. It's not going to work," he said.
The Clinton campaign's communications director Jennifer Palmieri said Manafort's comments about Clinton's involvement were untrue.
"Nice try, not true. @PaulManafort, blaming Hillary Clinton isn't the answer for ever Trump campaign problem," Palmieri tweeted.
The controversy quickly overshadowed the speech, which was to have been her introduction to voters. It focused on her immigration to the US and her love for her husband.
The Trump campaign released a statement on the speech after the similarities were uncovered, but the statement did not mention the plagiarism charge.
"In writing her beautiful speech, Melania's team of writers took notes on her life's inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania's immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success," according to Jason Miller, the senior communications adviser.
Earlier in the day, Melania Trump told NBC's Matt Lauer: "I read once over it, that's all, because I wrote it ... with (as) little help as possible."