Was Melania intentionally rickrolled?
Melania Trump was quite engaging as she delivered a fairly weak speech. It did contain an amateur mistake, and I am not talking about the plagiarism. Instead of sprinkling the address with smart anecdotes about life with her husband to show what he is really like, the speech merely strung together lot of adjectives. Thus, while it was effective in making Melania sympathetic to a wide audience, it was likely to be less effective in changing perceptions of her husband.
The earliest media critiques about the speech were mostly favorable despite the above flaw. A common theme was how Melania Trump's more humble demeanor and her delivery style were in positive contrast to that of the foreign-born and arrogant Teresa Heinz Kerry in 2004. Unfortunately, many of those same stories contained updates about what quickly became a worldwide story – the phrases lifted from Michelle Obama's 2008 speech. Even more piquant is that the language in those suspect passages were on the topics of honesty and integrity, which has been one of Trump's higher unfavorables among undecided voters. The media blame was initially placed on Donald because that reinforces the narrative that he makes ludicrous claims that he has only the very best people around him, when he is surrounded by inept sycophants.
The plagiarism story dominated the morning news about the convention. In more recent hours, however, a new story about that speech has taken hold. There was another unfortunate phrase within the speech, a line from one of the most insipid hits of the 1980s, the Rick Astley hit "Never Gonna Give You Up." That old hit was revived a few years back as part of an internet prank called rickrolling. The internet is abuzz with the question: did Melania Trump rickroll America?
This has been a dumpster fire of a campaign operation. Consider the problems with the new campaign logo. I thought the spin about Trump screwing Pence was a big stretch, but when I saw that oversized TP, my mind did immediately jump to toilet paper, not a presidential campaign.
It made me wonder who in the operation had the final approval, and did he listen to advice? While no one in the Trump family has probably written out a weekly shopping list in ages, if ever, certainly many on the campaign staff know how common the TP abbreviation is among people who do shop for their own basic necessities.
Might these problems trace to the presence of his adult children in the operation? Are all the family members' agendas fully in sync with their father's and with each other? And how well do the family members get along with the campaign staff? I especially wonder about Jared Kushner, as his father has a harsh reputation when it comes to his employees, a lesson he is said to have tried to instill into his son. Also, it is not uncommon for a son or sons to dislike a sister's husband, especially if the father does like the in-laws. I know of a family-owned business where the first act the two sons took upon their father's death was to fire their brother in-law, busting up their sister's marriage in the process.
All political campaigns are high-stress operations. Good campaign people don't need the additional hassle of navigating decades-old family-related cross-currents and emotional minefields on a daily basis. Even when the entire family is on the same page, there remains the question of access. The staff can leave for the day thinking a decision was made only to find out that after talking among themselves, the family unmade it overnight. And what if the extended family includes a wife closer in age to the children from the first marriage than to her husband's age, and a divorced mother has an axe to grind? I don't envy the staff on Team Trump or those with the Republican National Committee who have to work with the Trump family.