Shadowy: Ex-lobbyist Rick Gates, 44, of Richmond Virginia, is being named as the man at the center of the plagiarism row
Sources inside the Donald Trump campaign and the Republican Party are pointing fingers at an aide they say is responsible for the Melania Trump plagiarism storm – a man who was the campaign chairman's lobbying partner before he came aboard the Trump train.
Rick Gates was named to DailyMail.com by several sources with knowledge of the steps that led to Melania Trump delivering a partly plagiarized speech Monday night.
Gates is a former long-time lobbying partner of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and now faces demands that his head should roll.
The campaign has shown no sign of moving in that direction, however.
Two plugged-in Trump aides and three Republican National Convention officials confirmed that Gates, the deputy convention manager in charge of putting down a 'NeverTrump' rebellion on Monday, also had final authority to sign off on Mrs. Trump's remarks and those of many other speakers.
Gates sought to distance himself from the controversy on Tuesday, telling CNN it was 'absolutely not' true that he oversaw the process.
But DailyMail.com's sources all agreed that with the contentious wrangling over the anti-Trump faction's last stand eating up all his time and attention, Gates bypassed a typical step in the process of finalizing a speech by a political spouse – failing to vet the content of Mrs. Trump's remarks through convention staff who are adept at looking for political landmines.
Melania Trump was accused of stealing remarks made by Michelle Obama for her own speech at the Republican National Convention, and fingers of blame are pointing to a behind-the-scenes political fixer named Rick Gates who sources say bore responsibility for approving the remarks
MELANIA TRUMP'S SPEECH (2016)
'My parents impressed on me the value of that you work hard for what you want in life.
'That your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise.
'That you treat people with respect. Show the values and morals in in the daily life. That is the lesson that we continue to pass on to our son.'We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow.
'Because we want our children in these nations to know that the only limit to your achievement is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.'
MICHELLE OBAMA'S SPEECH (2008)
'And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.
'And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation.
'Because we want our children – and all children in this nation – to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.'
Ousted Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, now a CNN analyst, said he would expect his successor Paul Manafort would resign 'if he was the last person who saw this, and saw this happen, and has brought this on the candidate's wife'
DISCREET LOBBYIST WHO IS IN THE SPOTLIGHT FOR FIRST TIME
Rick Gates had until now risen in the Republican lobbying world without emerging from the shadows.
Little photographed, he is deputy to Paul Manafort, and has been deeply involved with the Trump campaign chair for the last two decades.
Gates, 44, a married father of three, lives in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife Brooke, and coaches a local children's soccer team.
But with Manafort he has been involved in dealings in the Ukraine where the company Manafort employed him - DMP International - came under scruity for working for Viktor Yaukovych, Russian president Vladimir Putin's ousted ally, >the Washington Post reported.
He says he grew up overseas because of a military family - his father, Richard Gates Jnr, was a lieutenant colonel in the Quartermasters Regiment with 26 years service - then studied at the College of William and Mary, graduating in 1994, and George Washington University.
Public records suggest he has lobbied for Microsoft and Home Depot, and now lives in a five-bedroom, 5,200 square feet Georgian home in Richmond. The neighboring property, of similar size, was last on the market in 2011 for $2,475,000.
Trump senior communications adviser Jason Miller told DailyMail.com after publication that Gates didn't have a role in the writing of the speech, but he did not dispute the sources who said he was responsible for shepherding Mrs. Trump's speech through the pre-convention process.
'Rick's not a speechwriter and he doesn't have a role in the campaign's speechwriting process - we have other people for that,' Miller said in an email.
'Anybody saying differently is being intentionally misleading.'
Among the automatic tasks of the convention staff, made up of dozens of operatives, is searching for typos and grammatical errors at the last minute, and making sure teleprompters operate properly.
They can also be called on earlier in the process to help with the content of speeches, but no one asked them for that kind of help with Melania Trump's speech, two sources said.
'Rick didn't avail himself of that process, and all those people, to make sure the speech was right,' one Republican communications operative said Tuesday morning. 'So he just read it through. The buck does stop with him.'
'Send it to them!' he urged, looking back in time. 'Any of those folks would have spotted it.'
It's unknown exactly who adapted a half-dozen lines from Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic National Convention speech and inserted them into Melania Trump's.
But conversations with insiders produced a picture of speechwriters sitting with the billionaire's wife to hear her tell her own story in the hope of channeling how she thinks and talks.
From there, they would research other similar speeches by presidential candidate spouses for a frame of reference.
'They looked at: "What did Michelle Obama say? What did Laura Bush say?" one veteran political speechwriter in Cleveland explained on Tuesday.
'It probably wasn't a cut and paste job,' he added, 'but I think in their mind they're writing the speech and reading all these other speeches, and they all tend to sound the same anyway, and it's easy to be careless.'
Another aide said there was 'zero chance' Mrs. Trump recognized the offending passages when a draft of her speech was presented to her later
Trump's campaign has shown no indication that it might fire Gates or otherwise discipline anyone involved in the embarrassing episode
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First lady Michelle Obama delivered a 2008 Democratic National Convention speech that appears to have been the basis for small portions of Melania Trump's on Monday
'She probably thought, "This is all me. I told the ghostwriter how I feel and where I've come from, and they captured me so well".'
'Somebody failed her and no one is defending her now,' he explained.
Mrs. Trump told NBC News before her speech: 'I read it once over, and that's all because I wrote it with as little help as possible.'
The insiders who spoke with DailyMail.com all insisted on anonymity to speak freely because he was not authorized to comment about the inner workings of the largest political spectacle in recent American history.
Another party official close to the nerve center inside Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena said Gates 'was overloaded' on Monday 'and got sloppy at the worst possible moment.'
That source emphasized that behind the scenes, many GOP officials are frustrated with Manafort for protecting his business partner, Gates, instead of the party's presidential candidate and his wife.
A campaign operative in Trump's circle of senior advisers said in the wee hours of Tuesday that Manafort 'wants to blame Mrs. Trump' instead of throwing Gates to the wolves.
But it was Gates, he disclosed, who 'signed off on all the speeches tonight' including remarks delivered by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Manafort 'delegated it to Gates,' he added. And in Melania Trump's case, she provided only 'the broad strokes.'
REPUBLICAN OFFICIAL: SOME LINES WERE LIKE 'MY LITTLE PONY' OR AKON
They said it too! Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer (top right) claimed parts of Melania Trump's speech could be matched on Google to (clockwise from bottom right) John Legend, the singer; Akon, the rapper; and Twilight Sparkles, a unicorn from My Little Pony
Republican officials tried to ridicule the plagiarism row by claiming it was possible to find similarities to lots of other published material.
Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer >told MSNBC that only 50 words were being discussed - then said other sections seemed similar to songs by the rapper Akon, the singer John Legend, and Twilight Sparkle, from My Little Pony.
'A simple Google search of three phrases comes up with everything from Sparkle pony [sic] to John Legend to Akon, to Notorious B.I.G.,' he claimed. 'And those are the same word order. I can go through and Google those phrases and come up with them and they've been said thousands of times.
'Your word is your bond, Craig, I've said that a million times,' he told MSNBC's Craig Melvin.
Spicer said: 'Melania Trump said "you work hard for what you get in life". Akon said "work hard for what you get in life'. John Legend said "work hard..".
'Melania Trump said "the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them". Twlight Sparkle from My Little Pony said "this is your dream, anything you can do in your dreams you can do now".'
It is unclear how accurate the reference to Twilight Sparkle is. The animated unicorn is the main character in the animated series My Little Pony Friendship is Magic.
Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort (right) insisted there was no intentional plagiarism but later told the Associated Press that he would fire the person responsible if he knew who it was
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie seemed not to know how plagiarism works, defending Melania Trump on Tuesday by telling NBC viewers that 93 per cent of her speech wasn't lifted from Michelle Obama
Mrs. Trump 'is embarrassed and unhappy' about the fallout, one campaign aide said Tuesday morning. 'Mr. Trump is really upset.'
'And Rick [Gates] and Paul [Manafort] are not owning this.'
Neither Manafort, Gates, nor a Trump campaign spokeswoman responded on Tuesday to requests for comment.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said during a breakfast event on Tuesday that he would 'probably' fire his own speechwriters if they plagiarized someone else's work.
Manafort told the Associated Press that he would certainly fire someone who plagiarized from a speech.
'Frankly if I knew somebody did it, I would fire them too,' he said, adding that 'nobody believes' Melania Trump herself lifted Mrs. Obama's words.
Former Trump campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski – a rival to Manafort when the two were both jockeying for control of the campaign – told CNN Tuesday morning: 'I think if it was Paul Manafort, he'd do the right thing and resign.'
'If he was the last person who saw this, and saw this happen, and has brought this on the candidate's wife, I think he'd resign because that's the type of person he would be,' Lewandowski said.
Trump in March hired Manafort, whose experience with presidential contests stretches back to the Gerald Ford era, to supervise what was expected to be a bloody fight over a thin margin of delegates needed to capture the GOP presidential nomination.
Manafort brought in Gates and other longtime associates to work under him, professionalizing the campaign but also introducing the uncertainty that comes with new blood.
'The result,' a Trump insider said, 'is that Trump is subject to the same problems as every other campaign. People are looking out for themselves and not the candidate. Until a few months ago his operation was different.'
'I AM SO PROUD OF YOUR CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES': HIGHLIGHTS OF MELANIA'S SPEECH
- On Donald's patriotism: 'I have been with Donald for 18 years and I have been aware of his love for this country since we first met. He never had a hidden agenda when it comes to his patriotism, because, like me, he loves this country so much'
- On her parents and her country: My elegant and hard-working mother Amalia introduced me to fashion and beauty. My father Viktor instilled in me a passion for business and travel. Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflect to this day on me and for my love of family and America.
- On his determination: 'If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you, he is the 'guy'. He will never, ever, give up. And, most importantly, he will never, ever, let you down'
- On winning: 'His achievements speak for themselves, and his performance throughout the primary campaign proved that he knows how to win'
- On Trump's best qualities: 'He is tough when he has to be but he is also kind and fair and caring. This kindness is not always noted, but it is there for all to see. That is one reason I fell in love with him to begin with'
- On his political ambitions: 'Donald intends to represent all the people, not just some of the people. That includes Christians and Jews and Muslims, it includes Hispanics and African-Americans and Asians, and the poor and the middle class'
- On her own ambitions: 'If I am honored to serve as first lady, I will use that wonderful privilege to try to help people in our country who need it the most. One of the many causes dear to my heart is helping children and women'
- On being ready: 'My husband is ready to lead this great nation. He is ready to fight, every day, to give our children the better future they deserve. Ladies and gentlemen, Donald J. Trump is ready to serve and lead this country as the next president of the United States'
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3697909/Named-Donald-Trump-aide-let-Melania-speak-Michelle-Obama-s-words-Campaign-chairman-s-former-lobbying-partner-faces-calls-sacked-Republican-s-team-plunged-civil-war.html