The letter from Trump staffer Meredith McIver Wednesday admitting plagiarism in Melania Trump's convention speech drew instant notice for its explanation of how that plagiarism happened.

It drew slightly less notice for the reason why: McIver confirmed that their potential first lady's words came from Michelle Obama — and that they wound up in the speech because Trump admires Obama, and was looking to her for an example.

"A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama," McIver wrote. "Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama's speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech."

The fact that Melania Trump was looking to emulate -- or at least touch on ideas espoused by -- Michelle Obama is pretty notable. She went to the trouble of looking at what Obama said when Obama was in her same situation eight years ago. The Trump campaign could have said that Trump was simply reviewing what other potential first ladies have said at conventions; instead, McIver acknowledged that Trump spoke Obama's words -- indirectly, of course -- because she is fond of her.

This isn't earth-shattering -- not as earth-shattering, perhaps, as if Donald Trump cribbed language from Barack Obama's convention speeches. And bipartisanship between real and potential first ladies isn't exactly surprising.

Michelle Obama has called Laura Bush "a role model and a friend," even as her husband ran hard against George W. Bush's policies in 2008. Laura Bush even defended Michelle Obama during the 2008 campaign, when Republicans cried foul over Obama's comments that she was "really proud" of her country for the first time.

During that same interview, Laura Bush praised Hillary Clinton's "grit and strength" in the 2008 primary campaign and noted the potentially history-making nature of the first female president. Even this year, Bush has suggested she might prefer Clinton to Donald Trump.

But while first ladies are generally popular, to some on the right, Michelle Obama is the embodiment of anti-American exceptionalism and a kind of nanny-statism. She's not as unpopular with Republicans as Hillary Clinton was as first lady, but a 2014 Pew poll showed a majority -- 56 percent -- of conservative Republicans viewed Obama unfavorably. Just 29 percent liked her.

The GOP base's disgust for Michelle Obama dates back to those 2008 "really proud" comments. She said at the time that, "for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback … not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

More recently, Republicans have attacked her for trying to remove junk food from school lunches. Conservative talkers like Rush Limbaugh have taken to noting every time she eats food that isn't nutritious. Some critiques and memes on the internet are particularly crude.

And it's not just a one-way deal. Michelle Obama just last month attacked Donald Trump without using his name, referring in a commencement speech to people who want to "build up walls to keep people out."

“They seem to view our diversity as a threat to be contained rather than as a resource to be tapped,” she said. “They tell us to be afraid of those who are different, to be suspicious of those with whom we disagree. They act as if name-calling is an acceptable substitute for thoughtful debate. As if anger and intolerance should be our default state rather than optimism and openness that have always been the engine of our progress."

To be clear, Michelle Obama remains broadly popular, according to the limited recent data we have. But not among the conservative Republicans that Melania Trump was speaking to on Monday, and she spoke the words of a woman who would find few friends on that convention floor -- not to mention a woman who has been very critical of her husband.