What do Akon, John Legend, My Little Pony's Twilight Sparkle, and Melania Trump have in common?
That didn't stop Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer from citing the rapper, singer, and fictional magical horse to explain away charges that Melania Trump's keynote address during the Republican National Convention's opening night contained lines copied from a 2008 speech given by Michelle Obama.
During an interview with CNN's Craig Melvin, Spicer offered a litany of disparate pop culture quotations—each of which, when plucked out of context, approximated a line from Trump's speech—as evidence that she had not, in fact, committed plagiarism in front of an arena full of people, and millions more watching at home.
"What we're talking about is in a 15,000 word speech, 50 words, OK?" Spicer exclaimed, while Melvin looked on in seeming disbelief.
"Melania Trump said 'You work hard for what you want in life,'" Spicer began. "Akon said, 'Work hard for what you get in life," John Legend said work hard for wha—"
"Are you really quoting Akon and John Legend?" Melvin asked incredulously. "Hang on, it's getting better," Spicer replied, before offering what is perhaps the strangest comparison in the history of political rhetoric:
"Melania said, 'The strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.' Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony said, 'This is your dream anything you can do, dream.'"
The entire bizarre exchange can be seen here:
In fact, Spicer seems to be workshopping the My Little Pony example elsewhere, too. Earlier on Tuesday he used the same line with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, adding a Kid Rock comparison for good measure.
Of course, Spicer's point—that phrases just simply sound like other phrases, and therefore can't be considered plagiarism—is entirely undercut by the fact that he went out searching for disparate lines of text, whereas Melania quoted Michelle Obama nearly verbatim for two paragraphs.
Strange as it may seem, however, this is not the first time a My Little Pony—or even Twilight Sparkle—has been plunged into the quagmire of this election cycle. This past January, Texas Senator Ted Cruz was heard confessing to a child at an Iowa campaign stop that, while his daughters may love Twilight, his favorite MLP is Applejack, because "I just think she’s funny."
In response to Spicer's invocation of a children's cartoon character to dismiss accusations of plagiarism during a national campaign for high office, actress Tara Strong, who voices Twilight Sparkle on the My Little Pony TV series, rendered her judgement on Twitter.
Well, that settles it.