Donald Trump Jr. faced questions about plagiarism following his speech Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention, one night after his stepmother, Melania Trump, was accused of plagiarizing her address from Michelle Obama.
The Daily Show first pointed out the similarities between the two lines in Donald Trump Jr.’s convention speech and an essay by F.H. Buckley in The American Conservative, a bi-monthly journal.
The line in question compared American schools to Soviet-era department stores run for the benefit of the clerks, not the customers.
“Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class,” Trump told a cheering crowd at the Quicken Loans Arena. “Now they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks, and not the customers.”
It closely resembled what Frank Buckley, a law professor at George Mason University, wrote for The American Conservative in a May article titled “Trump vs. the New Class.”
“What should be an elevator to the upper class is stalled on the ground floor. Part of the fault for this may be laid at the feet of the system’s entrenched interests: the teachers’ unions and the higher-education professoriate. Our schools and universities are like the old Soviet department stores whose mission was to serve the interests of the sales clerks and not the customers.
Buckley downplayed allegations of plagiarism telling the Associated Press that he was a “principal speechwriter” for Trump Jr. “so it’s not an issue.”
WATCH: Speech expert explains why plagiarism matters
Questions of plagiarism have surrounded the Trump campaign since it was suggested Melania Trump’s convention speech lifted whole paragraphs from Michelle Obama’s address at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
Jason Miller, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, released a statement saying the speech included “fragments” of other peoples’ writing.
“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” Miller said. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
In Frank Buckley’s case it appears to be an instance of sometimes referred to as “self-plagiarism” or “text recycling.”
In 2012, author Jonah Lehrer made headlines after it was discovered he had reused old material while writing for the New Yorker. He later resigned from the magazine after it was also discovered he had fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan.