Debate: Did Donald Trump Rip Off Elle Woods's Commencement Speech?

In a commencement address at Liberty University back in May, the president correctly used words like “equipped” and “stewards” in their proper context.



Highly suspicious.

So suspicious that speculation arises that the speech may have been lifted from somewhere. On his show on Friday, Graham Norton pulled up an old mash-up originally produced by Jimmy Fallon: a side-by-side with Elle Woods’s commencement speech from Legally Blonde. The video clearly showed Trump repeating phrases: “go forth into the world,” “courage in your convictions,” “be true to yourself,” and “[we] I did it!

Here’s the full transcript of Ms. Woods’s speech:

On our very first day at Harvard, a very wise Professor quoted Aristotle: “The law is reason free from passion.” Well, no offense to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law — and of life. It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct. You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.

Congratulations class of 2004 — we did it!

But for shame, Jimmy Fallon, because if you Command+F the full Trump transcript, most of the parallels are random phrases in a 32 minute ramble which drifted back to surprisingly coherent sections. Like, where did this come from:

What imprint will you leave in the sands of history? What will future Americans say we did in our brief time right here on earth? Did we take risks? Did we dare to defy expectations? Did we challenge accepted wisdom and take on established systems? I think I did, but we all did and we’re all doing it.

Or did we just go along with convention, swim downstream so easily with the current and just give in because it was the easy way, it was the traditional way or it was the accepted way?

Did a speechwriter just happen to have Legally Blonde in the background while googling “inspirational Bible quotes”? Or are these just idioms one throws out in a commencement speech, like so much detritus littered across the sands of Good Advice, forever strewn about the American psyche? Either way, for somebody who misspelled “too” on the inauguration poster, the wherewithal demonstrated in holding the above paragraphs together is outstanding.

Staff reporter, Gizmodo. wkimball @ gizmodo


...the president correctly used words like “equipped” and “stewards” in their proper context.