Fact Check

Did Melania Trump Steal Her United Nations Speech from Michelle Obama?

A meme claiming that Trump plagiarized a September 2017 speech from a 2014 talk by the former First Lady is false.

Published Sept. 23, 2017

 (MediaPictures.pl / Shutterstock.com)
Image courtesy of MediaPictures.pl / Shutterstock.com
Melania Trump plagiarized her 2017 speech at the United Nations from a speech delivered by Michelle Obama in 2014.

In July 2016, much ado was made about the similarities between Melania Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention and the remarks delivered by Michelle Obama eight years before at the Democratic National Convention. Since then, numerous rumors holding that the First Lady (as well as other members of the Trump family) have plagiarized content have appeared periodically.

A new item was added to the list in September 2017 when a meme purportedly showing the similarities between Trump and Obama's respective speeches at the United Nations was passed around the internet:

The portion of this meme dealing with Michelle Obama's speech is accurate. On 24 September 2014, the former First Lady delivered a speech at the United Nations for the third annual Global Education First Initiative event. The entire speech can be read on the official White House web site. We've reproduced the relevant portion below:

MRS. OBAMA:  Good afternoon.  It is truly a pleasure and an honor to join you today for the third annual Global Education First Initiative event.

Let me start by thanking Chernor for that just touching, very powerful, beautiful introduction.  Let’s give him a round of applause.  That was amazing.  (Applause.)  I do not feel worthy.  But I’m very proud of you and all of the other youth advocates for the tremendous work that you all are doing.  You make me proud.

I also want to recognize Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson; UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova; U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown; and, of course, the GEFI Champion Countries and Partners.

But most of all, I want to thank all of you for your visionary work on global education, particularly on the issue I want to discuss today – an issue which is the focus of my international work as First Lady of the United States – and that is providing quality education for girls around the world.

The portion of this meme dealing with Melania Trump's speech, however, is inaccurate. Although an official transcript was not available on WhiteHouse.gov at the time of this writing, CNN posted a video featuring the First Lady's full remarks on cyberbullying at the United Nations on 20 September 2017:

The passage included in this meme does not actually appear in Melania Trump's speech. This graphic was created as part of a seemingly never-ending series of hoax items claiming that a member of the Trump family had stolen some form of content. So far, we have debunked rumors holding that Melania Trump copied statements from Hillary Clinton and outfits from Jerry Seinfeld, and that President Trump had plagiarized from Hitler, the movies Legally Blonde and Bee Movie, and the comic book villain Red Skull.


Thompson, Krissah.   "Melania Trump Condemns Bullying — and Raises Some Eyebrows — in her First U.N. Speech."     Washington Post.   20 September 2017.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.