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Republican message drowned out by plagiarism controversy

Monday's convention was supposed to focus on "making America safe again." Instead, it turned into a debate about Melania's choice of words
19 Jul 2016 – 03:13 PM EDT
Melania Trump speaking at the GOP convention, July 18 2016 Crédito: AP

Allegations of plagiarism in a speech by Melania Trump overshadowed security issues on the first day of the Republican National Convention that aimed to shed a light on undocumented immigrant criminals.

Monday's convention line-up included a string of speakers who attacked the Obama administration for its failure to "make America safe again," including victims of immigrant criminals as well as survivors of the 2012 terrorist attacks on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

But on Tuesday morning, only hours before the convention in Cleveland was set to nominate real estate billionaire Donald Trump as the party's presidential candidate, all the talk was about the apparent blunder by his wife.

While the former model fired up delegates with her 10-minute address heaping praise on her husband's character and patriotism, the impact of her appearance was quickly dented by the accusation that parts of it were lifted nearly word-for-word from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention lauding her own husband.

Largely forgotten in the plagiarism discussion was the meat and bones on the convention's Monday schedule where three parents whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants spoke passionately in support of Donald Trump.

Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose 17-year-old son was shot and killed by an undocumented gang member in Los Angeles, told the crowd that Trump was "sent from God."

"Because immigration laws weren't followed, my son is dead," Shaw told Univision News after speaking at the convention.

Mary Ann Mendoza, spoke about her 32-year-old son, an Arizona police officer killed two years ago by an undocumented drunk driver. "It's time we had an administration that cares more about Americans than illegals," she said.

Sabine Durden remembered her 30-year-old son, who died in a motorcycle accident in California involving an undocumented and unlicensed truck driver, saying Democrats looked out more for undoucmented immigrants than U.S. citizens.

"Hillary Clinton, or as we know her, crooked Hillary, always talks about what she will do for illegal aliens and what she will do for refugees," Durden said in her speech. "What Donald Trump talks about is what he will do for Americans."

Patricia Smith, whose son Sean was killed in the Benghazi attack also spoke emotionally about her son’s death, which she blamed on Clinton, the-then secretary of state. “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son,” Smith said. She pointed out a delegate holding up a “Hillary for Prison” sign and said, “That’s right — Hillary for prison. She deserves to be in stripes.”

The handling of the Benghazi attacks, which cost the life of the U.S. ambassador to Libya as well as three other Americans, has been the subject of many congressional and other investigations. The hearings found no evidence of wrongdoing by Clinton, although she and other officials have acknowledged inadequate security at the facility.