New Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran Doubles-Down on Plagiarizing Obama Speech, Vows to Go Viral

Move over, Melania Trump. The most gratuitous plagiarism of an Obama speech in 2016 no longer belongs to the president-elect’s spouse, who cribbed the words of first lady Michelle Obama on the campaign trail. No, the dubious achievement award belongs to recently elected Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran, who, while wearing his hometown high school letterman jacket, gratuitously reappropriated President Barack Obama’s historic 2008 election night victory speech in a public address Dec. 13 at Milpitas City Hall. Tran, at 31 the youngest mayor in Silicon Valley, plagiarized most of his first major speech word for word, replacing the opening “Hello Chicago” with “Hello Milpitas” and then quoting the rest of the address nearly verbatim. Tran tells Fly he’s an “Obama fanatic” and grifted the speech as a way to honor the outgoing president. “After the holidays I’m going to put that speech on the Internet to go viral, because I’m a Millennial,” he says. “I’m not from the old-school politics.” If that doesn’t sound a bit tone deaf, consider the parts of his speech in which Tran merely replaced mentions of Michelle Obama with his mom, or even paid honor to his late pastor with nearly the exact same words then-President-elect Obama used to honor his deceased grandmother. Tran acknowledges that he did not tell the crowd his speech belonged to someone else, but he has no regrets. He plans on contacting the New York Times, Washington Post and other major media outlets to get the video into Obama’s line of sight. “Once things settle down and more coverage takes place, I think folks will see I did something really special,” Tran says. “I’m an indicator of what’s to come in the future, and I had to make a splash.”

You can watch Rich Tran’s speech below (go to minute 53:15).

And here’s the 2008 speech by Barack Obama.

The Mercury News published both speeches in full for a further comparison.

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28 Comments

  1. what a disgrace to the Vietnamese community. This is unacceptable. Now this makes me to believe he had been cheating all his way to the college (if he ever went to college).

    • If you did not agree something. You can say whatever you want but do not count the Vietnamese community in with you. Please ! Let the young person have a change to work for all of the Milpitain. Thx

    • Reasonable doubt. With all of these going on, I wondered is there anyone or at least at Milpitas City Hall verified his degrees? thesis? from the schools he said he went to?

  2. What an odd story. This way of doing the speech certainly got more attention than a normal speech from the Mayor of Milpitas…

    Doubling down is fun so was Scott Herold’s column.

    • The youngest mayor in Silicon Valley history was Evan Low. He took the Mayor seat in the city of Campbell when he was 28 years old. What’s the big deal about age now? They all start young these days. Look at coding schools aiming at 5 year olds.

  3. > Tran tells Fly he’s an “Obama fanatic” and grifted the speech as a way to honor the outgoing president.

    Imagine that! Grifting a speech about grifting from a grifter. Sounds like poetic justice to me.

    I predict that Milpitas is in for a long and miserable era of buyer’s remorse.

  4. Yikes, what kind of moron makes it through college without realizing this is NOT ok? Congrats on appointing a joke candidate Milligas.

  5. “he has no regrets.” Stubborn, stubborn … “doubled-down” plagiarizing habit, gambling … “Vows to go viral” challenging … “I think folks will see I did something really special,” … “I had to make a splash.” plainly stupid!

  6. I don’t know why everyone is so worked up over this…after all, he said that he was proud of what he did, and that it was okay. That’s the new normal…no right vs wrong standards…do what feels right. Besides, he’s the Mayor of Milpitas!

    • “new normal”? plagiarizing is a new normal? copying from someone is a “new normal”? whatever “he said” is what we have to agree on? “He’s the Mayor of Milpitas!” so what? By wearing a title, we have to respect him? even though he plagiarized, stole others’ work to become his own, not even feel a bit shame, challenging public by wanting everyone in the world to know (to go viral) his plagiarized speech and dreams to meet Mr. Obama (approves his plagiarizing action to visit him) in Milpitas (to recognize him) (facebook “mayor rich tran”)?

        • Thank you GREATNEWS_SANJOSE for pointing out to me to look in that direction: SARCASM. Since from ancient times to the present and beyond, stealing will never ever be allowed, and now this young mayor wants his plagiarizing to go viral to prove the way he did is applauded, because he is a Millennial?

    • > That’s the new normal…no right vs wrong standards…do what feels right.

      Sad but true.

      It’s interesting to note that the word “morality” does not seem to exists in the progressives’ dictionary. They treat it as a word from some foreign language and translate it as meaning roughly “bigoted judgmentalism”.

    • You people have too much time in hand. Yes , he did not mention Obama during his speech, but on the other hand, why does an original speech matter? The world is no longer the same way most of us once know, embrace these changes. You are in for more bigger surprises if you keep getting sticked in the past.

        • “why does an original speech matter?” It does matter Kathy M., it showed that the speaker was incapable to write his own speech, there was no true and considerate thoughts of his own, and since there is no attribution, it showed that he was successful that night in deceiving the audience to applaud him and gave him good comments. He happily accepted without any hesitation! “embrace these changes” not for this kind of change Kathy M., taking someone else’s intellectual or material products without permission or making-known to others properly, then it is unacceptable at any time, past, present or future. Can you imagine, someone went to your home while you are away, take your stuff and use it. Later you find out, he said he just loves your stuff and borrowed them from you? Can you embrace this change?

  7. Mayor Millennial of Milpitas is a righteous douchebag. It takes a very special level of douchebag though to plagiarize a speech then advertise it in hopes of it going viral thinking the world will love it. Good luck, Milpitas!!

  8. Silly nonsense. Let’s see how he performs as mayor – if he emulates successful leaders, great!

    The citizens of this country pay the president’s speechwriters, by the way.

  9. Thank You, God, I do not live in Milpitas!
    Anyone can REPEAT or RE-STATE with PRIDE a LONG SPEECH or a short sentence said or written by someone ! ONLY and ONLY IF, one has the DIGNITY to MENTION the NAME of the ORIGINATOR, then one is NOT A JUGGLER.
    As a Vietnamese-American parent, I feel ashame to read this corrupted and immoral thoughts of this so-called mayor. I hope his parents will take some time to educate him AGAIN and groom him to be a good citizen and not a thief or plagiarist. Please God Bless Milpitas City !

    • How is your family doing? Please ! Educate your children first. I hope that your children get the good education. At least an AA degree or a BS then you can talk. Let the young person has a change to service the community. Do not think one way. Do you want to see me and show me how to educate him ? Call me 4086371610
      You are not living in Milpitas that mean it is not your business. Please !
      Thx

      • > You are not living in Milpitas that mean it is not your business.

        Even those privileged to live in Milpitas are not exempt from laws regarding plagiarism or theft of intellectual property.

        Unless, that is, they are big deal Democrat Party officials. Then they probably are exempt from a lot of laws.

        Just remember, we are living in California: “Government of the Democrat Party, by the Democrat Party, for the Democrat Party.”

      • Wow! VINH TRAN – you must be a parent of Mayor Tran, excuse me if I am wrong. I admired you to come out and be ready to protect your son. Especially, you are willing to listen to others and even giving out your phone number to contact. Well, it does not matter an AA or BS before you two can talk, since this matter is about educating children to live in a virtuous life. Besides, you do not know about H.B. NGUYEN’s family, children at all, how do you determine to instruct H.B. Nguyen to educate his children first? However, H.B. Nguyen knows Major Tran’s recent plagiarizing. Also, it does not matter whether someone is living in Milpitas to make a comment or not, this is a public online news, anyone can make comment, and this is a general kind of subject anyway.

        • Dear H.B. NGUYEN
          I dislike the way you said below:
          ” I hope his parents will take some time to educate him AGAIN and groom him to be a good citizen and not a thief or plagiarist.”
          Mr NGUYEN you don’t need to tell Rich’s parent how to educate him. Please ! Don’t touch Rich’s parent if you dislike whatever that you can talk to him directly. Please ! Respect the older like his parent by your culture. Thx

        • Mrs. HG (Hanh Giao) Nguyễn is older than Rich’s mother and of course she (not he) has children.

          • Even Mrs. Hanh Giao is older that does not mean you allow to tell someone how to educate their children. Please ! Respect someone’s personal !!!! Thx a lot .

  10. As a former resident of Milpitas and classmate of Rich Tran, I am so proud to have him represent my hometown. He is a wonderful and caring person that would give you the shirt off his back. Although I do not agree with plagiarism, it’s definitely gotten many people’s attention. Do not judge him on this one speech alone. Let’s see what he can do for the community.

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