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.