Last night was about the plagiarism allegations. This morning was about the pushback. Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort denied charges of plagiarism on CBS and CNN, and at a press conference Tuesday morning — even as the parallels between Melania Trump's address to the Republican National Convention Monday night and passages of Michelle Obama's speech to the Democratic convention eight years ago seemed too numerous and exact to be coincidental.
Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis seemed to acknowledge what Manafort wouldn't when he told MSNBC he was "surprised that somebody missed that" and was "sure action will be taken in the campaign to ensure it never happens again." And Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast event in Cleveland that he would "probably" fire the culpable speechwriter.
The campaign appeared to have been caught off-guard by the allegations, and still seemed to be scrambling early in the day — but this isn't the first time Trump or his aides have had to address charges related to ripping off someone else's work.
During the Republican primary, Trump wrote an op-ed for a newspaper in Guam that bore a striking resemblance to one that former GOP rival Ben Carson submitted to a paper in the Mariana Islands just 12 days earlier. Daily Caller reporter Alex Pappas, who was first to note the apparent plagiarism, tweeted a side-by-side comparison of the two articles. The text in black is the same.
Carson adviser Armstrong Williams told the Daily Caller at the time that some of the doctor's staffers had jumped to the Trump campaign, which could help explain the similarities. One such campaign worker, Jason Osborne, told the Saipan Tribune that "plagiarizing ideas, when you accept those ideas, isn't plagiarism; it's just flattery." (Why didn't Jayson Blair think of that line?)
Last month, the New York Times reported that 20 pages of a Trump Institute instructional book were essentially duplicated from a real estate manual published 11 years earlier.
And in April, the liberal press watchdog Media Matters for America caught on-and-off Trump adviser Roger Stone copying material from the Conservative Treehouse blog for an article in the Daily Caller. The Daily Caller removed the piece from its website, and Stone posted a statement from his researcher on Facebook, in which the researcher took the blame for plagiarism.
On the campaign trail, Trump once touted his record of not plagiarizing material. Last summer, when Vice President Joe Biden was considering a presidential bid, Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he liked his chances against the veteran Democrat.
"I think I'd match up great," Trump said. "I'm a job producer. I've had a great record. I haven't been involved in plagiarism. I think I would match up very well against him."
When he ran for president in 1988, Biden admitted to committing plagiarism in law school and to lifting speech material from the British politician Neil Kinnock without attribution.
Trump has been on the other side of plagiarism charges, too: In 2014, NFL star Darnell Dockett copied a pair of Trump tweets verbatim.
Trump, ever-charitable, tweeted a couple days later that he would not sue Dockett for stealing his thoughts.