CLEVELAND—The reaction online was brutal after Melania Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention was found to contain passages lifted from a convention speech given by Michelle Obama in 2008.
And inside the Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday, delegates and elected Republicans were just as furious.
Just kidding! Mostly they didn't seem to understand what the fuss was about.
"Of course there's gonna be a lot of similarities, and then the other thing is that some of the similarities were intended," said Trent Clark, an Idaho delegate. "Some of the similarities were intentional to draw the contrast between what she was saying and how Michelle Obama would have said the same thing."
Darl Easton, an alternate delegate from Texas, offered: "There's only so many ways to say so many things. Every time I say ‘hello,’ am I plagiarizing?"
Melania Trump's speech copied Michelle Obama's almost word for word in a section about working hard, keeping your word, treating people with respect, and working to achieve your dreams.
Among the excuses offered by Republicans on Tuesday were that it was somehow Hillary Clinton's fault and that, hey, at least she only plagiarized 7% of the speech.
Inside the convention hall, the explanations offered by delegates and elected Republicans were just as inventive.
"I didn’t realize that Michelle Obama is the only one allowed to praise her husband," Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas told Fusion.
Perhaps the most reality-bending interpretation of the clear plagiarism came from alternate delegate and pastor E.W. Jackson, of misspelled book cover fame.
"The spirit of their speeches was very, very different, and if Michelle said anything similar to what Melania said, frankly, I believe Melania," he said.
"I don’t really believe Michelle because to me Michelle is not a patriotic-type person. She does some things that are good but that sense of real love and passion and appreciation for the privilege of being an American, I don't hear coming from Michelle. I heard it coming from Melania."
Georgia delegate Michael McNeely, who had an awkward encounter with the Trump campaign last month, was less dubious of the plagiarism allegation, though stopped short of actually calling the speech plagiarism.
“I think that speech is something that individuals worked on on her behalf, and there are certainly some common themes between the two speeches," he said. "I think that, at the very least, some of the folks that worked with her on that speech should have thoroughly vetted it before they released it, because now, obviously, the conversation has been about that and not about the content of what she was really trying to say.”