Isn’t this beautiful. The oldest son of Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., is accusing President Obama of stealing a part of his speech from the RNC. Trump Jr. pointed out that both addresses contained the line “That’s not the America I know.”
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 28, 2016
The accusation comes after Melania Trump was criticized for cribbing significant portions of her address to the RNC from Michelle Obama’s first convention speech in 2008.
Trump Jr. is correct that both he and Obama both used the single phrase in their speeches to their respective party conventions. But it’s also a line Obama, along with other past presidents, has used frequently in the past. And other than the brief sentiment about the version of America known to both men, the context of the statements are very different.
Here’s what the younger Trump said last week in Cleveland.
Donald Trump Jr: There’s so much work to do. We will not accept the current state of our country because it’s too hard to change. That’s not the America I know. We’re going to unleash the creative spirit and energy of all Americans. We’re going to make our schools the best in the world for every single American of every single ethnicity and background.
And here’s what the president said in Philadelphia.
President Barack Obama: What we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican and it sure wasn’t conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems, just the fanning of resentment and blame and anger and hate. And that is not the America I know. The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous.
Obama has also frequently used the construction of “the America I know” and “not the America I know” in public addresses.
The use of the “America I know” refrain was also a common phrase for former president George W. Bush.
In the days after the 9/11 attacks, for example, Bush spoke about his view of the country during a visit to an Islamic center.
“Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must be not intimidated in America,” he said. “That’s not the America I know. That’s not the America I value.”