Melania Trump invoked her childhood in Slovenia during a rare speech she gave days before the election, saying that, from afar, “America meant if you could dream it, you could become it.”
It’s a lovely sentiment, but as Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg pointed out, citing historian Yoni Brander, she’s not the first person to have expressed it. In the ultimate display of irony, the quote is actually identical to one made by one of her husband Donald Trump’s ex-wives.
In a 2011 interview with Maximum Ink magazine, Marla Maples talked about her own humble upbringing.
“Even though I was from a small town of 500 people, I learned to dance, play clarinet, and play trumpet, all while playing every sport I was allowed to as a southern-born tomboy,” she said. “I believed if you could dream it you could become it, so I didn’t see life as having any limitations. I was blessed.”
Of course, Maples isn’t the first person to use the phrase either. The most popular version of the quote comes from writer William Arthur Ward: “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”
Melania Trump was accused of plagiarism over the summer after her speech at the Republican National Convention contained almost identical language to one Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.