Meredith McIver, an in-house staff writer for Donald Trump, entered the political spotlight Wednesday after she took responsibility for passages in Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention that were lifted from Michelle Obama.
McIver said she offered her resignation to the Republican presidential nominee, but was rejected. The ensuing media storm around Melania’s speech has overshadowed the Republican convention and the GOP’s effort to introduce Trump as their official candidate.
“I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant,” McIver said in statement issued by the Trump Campaign.
The similarities between Melania’s convention address and Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic national convention in 2008 grabbed headlines on the first day of the Republican convention in Cleveland.
There are few details about McIver, who was described as an in-house writer for the Trump Organization where she started in 2001.
According to a profile on the booking agency the All American Speakers Bureau, she worked on Wall Street and is originally from San Jose, California. The profile says she trained at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in English.
She has worked on a number of Trump’s books including Think Like a Billionaire and How to Get Rich, according to publisher Simon & Shuster,
Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, initially commissioned Melania’s speech from writers Matthew Scully and John McConnell, who had worked for George W. Bush, according to The Times. Melania later rejected large parts of the speech and asked McIver to help re-write it.
Jason Miller, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, downplayed accusations of plagiarism but did say Melania’s address 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 in a statement.
McIver said that Melania had told her that she admired Michelle Obama, and had read passages from Obama’s speech as an example of things she liked and “later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech.”
“I apologize for the confusion and hysteria my mistake has caused,” she added.
— With files from the Associated Press