Then the Donald Trump impersonator: Rudy Giuliani, three Red Bulls over the line, delivering a truly unhinged wild man masterpiece of fear mongering.
And finally the Slovenian eye candy: Mrs. Trump III, aka Melania, offering a luxurious laundry list of platitudes about her husband’s alleged humanity while reading a teleprompter more skillfully than he ever will.
Oops: plagiarized. From, um, Michelle Obama.
So it went on opening night of the Trump National Convention, as The Donald’s campaign towel boys produced a dystopian evening of fear and phobia in which speaker after speaker hurled right-wing red meat at the color-free faces on the floor of the Lebron James Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
It was a dark and stormy night: The unrelentingly somber and grim tone of the evening was broken only by the 15-minute homage to Trump’s purported “kindness, love and compassion” delivered in perfect broken English by his bride, clad in a cotton silk off-white Roksanda dress. You could look it up.’
Despite some scheduling screw-ups, the Trumpistas managed to get Melania into the heart of prime time, the 10-11 p.m. EDT hour that is the only segment of the convention being shown by the broadcast networks (it goes without saying that political junkies and other masochists can wallow in it endlessly on cable).
Otherwise the night would have been a complete disaster as the candidate’s lackeys mostly ignored the clear warning by Calbuzz that they need to be talking to independent-minded voters around the country, instead of focusing their energies on prompting rebel yells and building dog piles of the already converted inside the hall.
Except, even the one good move by campaign — using Melania to soften Trump’s misogyny, narcissism and mendacity — blew up into what GOP commentator Steve Schmidt called a “catastrophe” early Tuesday when it was revealed that parts of the speech she had claimed to have written (ha!) were lifted almost word for word from Ms. Obama’s 2008 convention address.
(Worse, according to some of our closest relatives, was the Trump campaign’s use of Queen’s “We are the Champions” — cue Freddy Mercury spinning in his grave — for Melania’s entrance and exit. Queen, btw, is just one of the groups that has told Trump to cease and desist using their works, others including the Rolling Stones, Adele, Neil Young, REM, Aerosmith and Twisted Sister.)
Here are three takeaways.
The exploited mother: Patricia Smith is the mother of the late Sean Smith, a computer tech who was one of the four Americans killed during the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA station in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.
Haunted horror wracking her face, she brought raw grief to the podium, not simply to blame Hillary Clinton for the policy and security failures that led to the debacle that cost her son his life — but essentially to accuse Trump’s Democratic rival of murder and say that Clinton “deserves to be in stripes.”
“For all of this loss, for all of this grief, for all of the cynicism the tragedy in Benghazi has wrought upon America, I blame Hillary Clinton,” Smith said. “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”
Smith’s speech, which had some delegates in tears, was factually wrong and seems unlikely to convince anyone outside the convention hall to vote for Trump. As a brutal political matter, however, it did achieve one goal of his campaign: after a chaotic floor flight over convention rules that had some Stop Trump types calling his troops “brown shirts,” it immediately united delegates in a unanimous cloud of unadulterated hatred for Clinton.
Rudy Kazooty: Perhaps some staff assistant or convention drone mistakenly printed out former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s speech in ALL CAPS, but whatever happened, Rudy delivered his stemwinder at a volume and speed that could only be approximated by trying to imagine hooking up with a jet engine.
Eyes bulging and arms waving wildly, Rudy somehow managed to keep his head rotating all the way around on his neck like Linda Blair in “The Exorcist,” as he delivered lines like this:
“The vast majority of Americans today do not feel safe,” he screamed. “They fear for their children and they fear for themselves.” Um, except in California, we guess.
Repeatedly bellowing the words “ISLAMIC EXTREMIST TERRORISM!!!,” Giuliani offered a global political analysis that apes perfectly the narrative favored by ISIS, that the U.S. is involved in a clash-to-the-death-of-civilizations.
Although he presided as a mayor over a sanctuary city, Giuliani ripped Clinton for favoring “open borders” and all but accused her of wanting to import terrorists under the guise of accepting a few thousand carefully screened Syrian refugees.
In other words, he did a near perfect-pitch imitation of Trump.
Melania my little Slovene flower: It’s a measure of how truly bad Trump’s Ivan the Terrible image is that the blathering heads of the MSM were falling all over each other to gush and grovel over Melania’s fourth-grade vocabulary level reading of every cheap sentiment Hallmark ever slapped on an Happy Anniversary Dear card.
The orangeade-visaged highrise builder and casino bilker, it seems, is “kind and fair,” with “a simple goodness of the heart” who she knows as “a man and as a father” and who will “never, ever let you down.”
As first noted by L.A. journalist Jarrett Hill, Melania’s lovey-dovey sentiments about Donald are extremely similar to those Michelle Obama expressed at a national nominating convention in 2008, towards the future president of the United States in 2008. Exactly similar, actually.
Melania—or more likely her speechwriters—appears to have lifted at least one crucial section of her speech from the one Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Some phrases—such as “that your word is your bond” and “your willingness to work hard for them”—were lifted nearly word-for-word or exactly so, with the rest of the section seemingly specifically tailored to avoid detection.
Not since Joe Biden lifted Bobby Kennedy’s famous words and passed them off as his own at the 1987 California Democratic Party convention — and was caught by a younger Calbuzzer — have we witnessed rank plagiarism at a major political event.
Yet in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer several hours before delivering her little talk, Melania told him she had written the speech by herself.