SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois delegates to the Republican National Convention say they don't blame the potential next first lady for possibly cribbing passages from a predecessor in her opening-night address in Cleveland, but they do say somebody in the Trump campaign should be held accountable.
Melania Trump's speech included passages that are verbatim matches to those delivered by Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008. One Illinois delegate said the apparent plagiarism was emblematic of the Trump campaign's disorganization.
"Some speechwriter should be fired," said state Rep. David Harris, a John Kasich delegate from Arlington Heights. "Most folks don't write their own speeches, not at that level. If there was something borrowed from other speeches, Michelle Obama's or others', somebody should be taken to task for it."
Just hours before a roll-call vote to name Trump the GOP nominee for president, none of the Illinois delegates had heard of a plan to get Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's name into nomination or been asked to sign a petition seeking it.
Addressing Melania Trump's speech, her husband's campaign said a team of writers crafted the address after speaking to Melania Trump about her life. Trump adviser Paul Manafort told The Associated Press the issue was "totally blown out of proportion." The campaign planned no disciplinary action.
Trump delegate Cynthia Schaffer would not accept the plagiarism. "There are similar words any woman would say about her husband in that position," Schaffer said. "It's just choosing the same things to talk about - your husband, your family."
James DeVors of Aroma Park, another Trump delegate, said there should be consequences if someone intentionally lifted lines, "but it was just a small part of the speech."
Former state Republican party chairman Pat Brady of St. Charles, a Kasich delegate, said Melania Trump "electrified the crowd."
"And the Trump campaign, showing how disorganized it is, allowed her to give a speech that was plagiarized," said Brady, calling it a distraction from important issues. "I feel badly for her because now they're dumping on her."
The draft-Cruz movement came a day after Trump supporters shot down an upstart attempt to change convention rules that would make it easier to knock Trump out of contention.
"They're going to try everything they can because they are sore losers and can't seem to get over the fact that the overwhelming majority of Republicans wants Donald Trump," said delegation co-chairman John Cabello, an at-large delegate and state representative from Machesny Park. "The sooner they realize that, the sooner we can come back and unite to make sure we defeat Hillary Clinton."
Harris said Trump will be the nominee and the sideshow heightens unease and tension at a time when the party should be coming together.
"It doesn't bode well that we're trying to do this at the last minute on national television," Harris said. "We have enough divisions to heal going into November. We don't need to have this."
Cruz bowed out of the race last spring as Trump continued to win late-season primaries. Cruz doesn't have nearly enough delegates to win, Brady said.
"They're being disruptive to be disruptive," Brady said of the Cruz mavericks. "Trump's going to be the nominee and, at some point, the Cruz people need to give it up."