Gov. Christie defended Melania Trump on Tuesday against plagiarism accusations, saying that “93 percent” of the speech she gave to the Republican National Convention Monday night was different than one Michelle Obama gave in 2008.
Asked by Matt Lauer on TODAY whether there was a case to be made that the wife of the presumptive GOP nominee plagiarized, Christie said, “Not when 93 percent of the speech is completely different than Michelle Obama’s speech.”
“The worst day of the convention is the first day. Everybody’s building up to it,” Christie said. But “after tonight, we won’t be talking about this.”
After Melania Trump spoke Monday, similarities were quickly discovered between her speech and the speech Michelle Obama gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
For example, Michelle Obama said in 2008 that "Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values, that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them."
Melania Trump, Monday night: "My parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise; that you treat people with respect.”
Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, told CNN Tuesday the plagiarism accusations were “just really absurd,” and that “there’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These are common words and values.”
Christie, in the TODAY interview, said Melania Trump’s speech “sounded very much like her, and how she speaks about Donald all the time.”
Of not being picked as Trump’s vice president, Christie said, “The truth is that I never expected to be chosen.”
But “of course I’m disappointed,” he said. “If you compete for something like I didn’t, you’d like to be picked. I wasn’t.” The governor is due to address the convention tonight.
Christie denied tension between him and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. As New Jersey’s U.S. attorney, Christie prosecuted Kushner’s father, real estate developer and Democratic fund-raiser Charles Kushner.
“I’ve never had any conflict with Jared inside the campaign,” Christie said. He dismissed reports of conflict as a “Shakespearean thing to write about.”