On Sunday afternoon, not long after learning that Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles area, former President Barack Obama tweeted this message:
“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”
Two hours later, President Donald Trump shared a very similar tribute on his own Twitter:
The rhetorical similarities and synonymous language didn’t go unnoticed, especially given Trump’s noted disdain of Obama — and the Trump family’s history of echoing the previous White House.
“Trump’s tweet about Kobe is remarkably similar to Obama’s,” writer Aaron Rupar tweeted not long after Trump’s tribute to Bryant.
Trump, 73, actually tweeted twice about Bryant. His first message, an hour before Obama’s, read: “Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!”
These tweets, of course, are not the first time the Trumps have raised eyebrows by sounding like the Obamas. First Lady Melania Trump plagiarized a portion of a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama during own remarks at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Trump speechwriter Meredith McIver soon explained that Mrs. Trump, in a phone call, had read “passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples” of inspiration for her own address. “I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. … I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches,” McIver said at the time.
“This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama,” McIver said.
A White House spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday about the similar tweets.
President Trump has tweeted appreciably about Bryant in the past — and Bryant was not shy about sharing his own feelings about Trump after his turn to politics.
“A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can’t possibly ‘Make America Great Again,’ ” Bryant tweeted in 2017.