Last week, the wife of Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump, was accused of plagiarism after she gave her impassioned speech at the opening night of the Republican National Convention. Melania Trump’s comments were similar to ones delivered by Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
At the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, the First Lady delivered her impactful speech. Guess which part of her address to the DNC apparently drew the greatest scrutiny? The comments that the White House was built by slaves.
This first came to my attention via a conservative media outlet that accused Michelle Obama of lying because the “White House was not solely built by slaves,” but also by local white laborers and immigrants from European nations. She was accused of race-baiting—to which, my reaction was, “Figures.”
But then, the more I looked, the more I came across other media sources that were fact-checking her “claims.” In fact, the story posted on ABC News is literally titled Fact-Checking Michelle Obama’s Speech ‘White House Was Built by Slaves.’
“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States. So, don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again, because this right now is the greatest country on Earth.”
Out of everything the brilliant First Lady had to say during her speech Monday night, this is what was trending—”Did she lie about slavery?” Not to mention, this was not the first time she has used the line; it appeared in a commencement address she delivered in June at the City College of New York.
There is no real surprise to anyone about the involvement of slaves along with whites and free laborers in helping to construct the White House.
Here’s what was unearthed:
According to information posted on the White House Historical Association’s website, planners had initially intended “to import workers from Europe,” but had trouble recruiting any. So, they “turned to African American—enslaved and free—to provide the bulk of labor that built the White House, the United States Capitol, and other early government buildings.”
Let’s face it, if you are pro-Hillary, a Democrat, or a liberal, then she spoke the truth. If you are pro-Trump, a Republican, or a conservative, then she was misleading. All of this is yet another stark illustration of the state of race relations and political polarization in this country.