Jewish Speechwriter Wrote Michelle Obama’s 2008 Speech — the One Melania Trump Ripped Off by the Forward

Jewish Speechwriter Wrote Michelle Obama’s 2008 Speech — the One Melania Trump Ripped Off

Sarah Hurwitz, a Jewish speechwriter for Michelle Obama, wrote the 2008 speech that Melania Trump apparently cribbed for her own debut speech on the opening night of the Republican National Convention.

Hurwitz now works at the White House as a senior adviser, and once worked for Hillary Clinton. She helped pen the message delivered by the future first lady at the Democratic convention that nominated Barack Obama, the Week reported.

The Washington Post reported that Hurwitz has been involved in composing nearly every public address given by Michelle Obama for the last seven years.

Originally from Wayland, Massachusetts, near Boston, Hurwitz attended Harvard University as an undergraduate and then Harvard Law School. The Post reported that she takes classes on Judaism in her spare time.

Hurwitz’s first job in speechwriting was as an intern for Vice President Al Gore. She has worked as a speechwriter for Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, General Wesley Clark’s 2004 presidential campaign, John Kerry’s presidential campaign, and Hillary Clinton’s 2008 bid for the Democratic nomination. After Clinton conceded that race, Jon Favreau, then-Senator Obama’s main speechwriter, hired Hurwitz.

Composing Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention was one of Hurwitz’s first jobs on the campaign. In a meeting at the Obamas’ Chicago home, Michelle Obama laid out for Hurwitz what her story was and what she wanted to say at the convention.

“I realized then that Michelle Obama knows who she is, and she always knows what she wants to say,” Hurwitz told the Post.

Neither Hurwitz nor the White House have released a public statement about the apparent plagiarism of the speech.

The New York Times compared the transcripts of Obama’s and Melania’s speeches and the similarities are striking.

Melania Trump’s Monday night speech:

Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech:

Revelation of the similarities between the two speeches set off a cascade of accusations and finger-pointing within the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee. But one Trump follower claimed to know exactly what happened. White supremacist David Duke declared on his website that the alleged plagiarism was caused by “intentional sabotage and treachery” by what Duke called a “Jewish neocon speechwriter.”

“Zio Fingerprints are all over this one,” Duke wrote.

Trump has disavowed Duke’s comments in the past. No word yet about this latest statement.

After Donald Trump, Jr.’s speech Tuesday night at the RNC, the Daily Show tweeted two pictures comparing a section in his speech to an article written by law professor F. H. Buckley in the magazine The American Conservative.

Buckley, a professor at George Mason University, subsequently told Vox that he was a principal speechwriter for Trump, Jr.’s speech.

On including his earlier writing in Tuesday night’s speech, Buckley told Vox, “it’s not an issue.”

Contact Ari Feldman at or on Twitter @aefeldman.

Jewish Speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz Penned Michelle Obama’s Speech — the One Melania Trump Ripped Off


Ari Feldman

Ari Feldman

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. He covers Jewish religious organizations, synagogue life, anti-Semitism and the Orthodox world. If you have any tips, you can email him at Follow him on Twitter @aefeldman.

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