Melania Trump’s RNC speech provokes claims of plagiarism and, maybe worse, Rickrolling

Melania Trump speaks during the Republican National Convention in July.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Did Melania Trump lift part of her speech from Michelle Obama at Monday’s Republican National Convention? Or maybe her speechwriters made a mistake. Perhaps, as some have speculated, the use of phrases from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention was pure coincidence.

Another accusation has emerged that has nothing to do with alleged plagiarism of the first lady’s ’08 speech and everything to do with the British pop star Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

Specifically, one passage from Trump’s inspiring address bears a striking resemblance to Astley’s song, which had led to accusations that the Trump campaign may be “Rick-rolling” the electorate.


For those of you living in caves, to “Rick-roll” someone is to lure them to an intentionally mislabeled Web link, only to be directed to a video of Astley’s 1987 hit. In the instance cited on Monday, social media speculators point to a specific line in her speech:

As with the alleged use of verbiage from Obama’s speech, a large percentage of Trump’s words are identical to that of the earlier work.

Melania Trump: “He will never, ever give up. And most important, he will never, ever let you down.”

Rick Astley: “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down.”

On YouTube, a user who goes by “The Swog Blog” has been kind enough to produce a compare/contrast clip.


If true, Trump’s embedding of Astley’s chorus suggests that Trump’s whole campaign may be a huuuge Rick-roll. For a deeper dive into the linguistic similarities, see our in-depth, word-by-word graphic analysis of Trump’s alleged plagiarism.

There’s a lot of terrible music out there. For tips on the stuff that’s not, follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit


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