Donald Trump's first State of the Union speech went, well, pretty smoothly, all things considered. The president stuck to his script, hit his marks, and managed not to insult anyone in the course of the approximately hour and 20 minute speech. But when it comes to one of the standout quotes from his address, he may have had a little unintentional help. Apparently, Trump's "new American moment" quote from the State of the Union was Hillary Clinton's quote first.
Speaking about the Republican tax bill which was passed at the very end of 2017, Trump lauded the bill as a new era for America and a fresh start for the American people. He said,
Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses — many of them thousands of dollars per worker. Apple has just announced it plans to invest a total of $350 billion in America, and hire another 20,000 workers.
And he continued, "This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream."
It was honestly a pretty good soundbite. It was short, it was sweet, it was inspirational. The only problem is that it wasn't entirely his.
As NowThis quickly pointed out, that "new American moment" line actually belonged to Clinton first.
The video-based news source found a whole bunch of clips dating almost ten years back, to 2009, showing Clinton using the line "new American dream."
And she kind of did a better job of it. Instead of touting a legislative victory, Clinton's quoted speeches speak of the global stage and urge American global leadership. In one of the speeches, she said,
The complexities and connections of today's world have yielded a new American moment, a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways. A moment when those things that make us who we are as a nation, our openness and innovation, our determination and devotion to core values, have never been more needed.
But in case you were wondering if it was just a one-off — like, two different writers stumbling on the same phrase — she actually used it at least three times, in at least three addresses from 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Being caught cribbing — intentionally or not — isn't a good look for Trump.
But neither is it a new one. Back during the 2016 presidential campaign, now-First Lady Melania Trump got caught apparently reusing huge parts of one of then-First Lady Michelle Obama's speeches. Her speech at the Republican National Convention in July of 2016 was remarkably similar to one that Obama delivered at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values 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.
While Obama's speech read,
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.
So was the State of the Union line actually stolen, or was it just an honest mistake, two scriptwriters who maybe listened to the same inspirational soundtrack and came up with the same turn of phrase? Only the scriptwriters themselves can answer that. In the meantime, it's clear that Trump, as he said, thinks that we are at the start of a new American moment. Too bad Clinton called it nine years ago.
Disclosure: Hillary Clinton's son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky joined Social Capital, an investor in Bustle Digital Group, in mid 2017 and joined the Board of Bustle Digital Group in early 2018.