This Lake Worth woman is one of Playboy magazine’s first centerfolds

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She’s been a catalog model, cigarette girl, Vegas cocktail waitress, New York theater actress and bit part player in an Oscar-winning movie.

But it was one photo session in the early 1950s that sealed Neva Gilbert’s claim to pop culture fame. The Lake Worth resident was one of Playboy magazine’s earliest centerfolds, Miss July 1954, a beautiful, long-legged blonde posed alluringly across a tiger skin rug.

“I’m the oldest living Playboy Playmate,” she proudly tells people.

But is she?

Find out, and see more photos of Gilbert then and now, in our story:

THE CENTERFOLD NEXT DOOR

 

True Life: I’m 25 and I’m learning how to date

Sure, I’ve experienced a long-term relationship and spent a little time dating, but that doesn’t mean I’m some kind of dating expert (because these days, they do exist). When I found myself single at 24, I thought I was ready to hit the scene (in a real way), but me being ready didn’t equate to me knowing what I was doing.

After a few months of the single life, I just kind of jumped into dating and did what I thought was right. We’ll talk about that in another article. For now, we’re here because of a phone call. I received a message about a free Teleseminar with Love Coach and Founder of Crystal Transitions Coaching, Sara Rose, who would be sharing four secrets to become a magnet for deeply satisfying and co-creative love.

At first I thought:

But then I reconsidered. What did I have to lose by just calling in and listening? Nothing. The teleseminar, a fancy word for conference call, was a fresh take on how to truly attract a fun and fulfilling relationship when the time is right. It got me thinking of everything I was doing wrong. Maybe we’re all doing these things wrong.

1. We focus on growing a relationship instead of ourselves.

Fix it: Commit to developing yourself personally. That could mean executing a strict morning routine, reading a new book or strengthening your relationship with a higher power. I’ve adjusted my morning routine to waking up another hour earlier fitting in time for meditation and exercise, picked up two new books and joined a bible study group since September. I already see changes in the Love & Relationships category of my life.

2. We make ourselves believe cuffing season is a real thing.

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Fix it: Desperation is never cute. Instead of locking in a partner to cuddle with during cold weather, (or in our SoFla lifestyle, during the warm holiday season) try trusting the timing of your life. Believe you’re changing your frame of mind around dating so that you will attract what and who is meant for you.

3. We stay in our comfort zone.

Fix it: Stop letting boredom or loneliness move you to text an old partner. If the two of you gave getting to know one another and exploring a relationship a real try and it did not work, move on. Keep your head forward. Something new and better is ahead.

4. We don’t see that we are unique.

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Fix it: Know that you are trippin’ for not realizing how exclusive you are. Then soundtrack your next step with “Golden” by Jill Scott. Change every bio on every social media account or dating profile you have to express something that is unique about you. You’re not a carbon copy of anyone — and you should broadcast this fact.

5. We think our words were just words.

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Fix it: Get your hands on Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. He provides four principles to practice that can create happiness in your love life. The first? Knowing that your words are directly connected to the person you always had the potential to be.  The quick read changed my thinking about the words that I use in conversations, light and heavy.

6. We think we know it all.

Fix it: Don’t assume you know more about your potential partner than you actually do. Instead, ask more questions and don’t shy away from asking the ones you really want to know the answer to. You’ll be respected for it.

7. We don’t switch it up. 

Fix it: Try something different, not someone different. If you don’t like that the really attractive person you met last week texts you every night after midnight, cut that person off, then don’t fall into the hands of someone else who does the same thing. Instead, make the decision to stop responding to any person who doesn’t initiate conversation at a respectable time. This is you knowing your worth and setting a standard that will become a habit if practiced consistently.

8. We fear what we really want. 

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Fix it: Train yourself to believe you are worthy of your ideal partner by literally writing down the qualities you bring to the table. This will remind you of the ways in which you are a good catch and why you deserve someone just as good, if not better.

9. We think speaking about our growth and personal development is embarrassing.

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Fix it: Share this article with a friend or someone who’s single. It’s not silly to have conversations about standards, dating preferences or growth. But you won’t realize just how good it is for your love life it will be until you actually try it.

I still have some work to do (just like we all do), but I rest well knowing that I’m on the right track.

What’s next on love and dating from me? The six minute conversation with a complete stranger at a speed dating event is not just something that happens between actors on the set of TV drama. Check back in later this month see what I mean.


Stay Connected:

Instagram: @CorvayaCMG

Twitter: @CorvayaCMG

Facebook: Corvaya CMG

The 11 best volunteer opportunities for animal lovers in Palm Beach County

Having a pet for a couple of hours a week sure is a lovely idea. And it’s not too far-fetched. You can volunteer. It’s as simple as that. Do good for the community, get some good karmic energy and play with dogs and cats all day.

Okay, well, that’s oversimplifying the position; it’s not all fun and games. It is serious work in need of dedicated individuals.

 

First, where you can volunteer in Palm Beach County:

Central PBC

West PBC County

North PBC County

South PBC


Puppies waiting to meet their families at the Countdown to Zero event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center (Contributed).
Puppies waiting to meet their families at the Countdown to Zero event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center (Contributed).

Next, what you need to know

At most rescue agencies, there is a critical need for volunteers. Some rescues run almost 100% off of volunteers.

The hours you’re needed can vary depending on the organization, but at Peggy Adams, for example, volunteers must commitment to at least four hours a week.

Did someone say, “Puppy cuddler?” Yep. That’s kind of think in animal shelters, and volunteers can definitely do that, and then some. 

Animal rescues need help bottle-feeding cats, walking dogs, and yes, picking up poop and cleaning out cages. You can also help by being a shelter tour guide and by showing the pets off to potential adopters.

Another form of volunteering is fostering. As a foster parent, you can learn all about the dog, rehabilitate it if need and provide it with a loving home until the agency is able to find the dog a furever home.

But volunteer positions aren’t just about directly helping with the animals. You can help indirectly, too. These organizations are businesses, and it takes a lot of pieces to keep them afloat. If you have skills in marketing, graphic design, photography or customer service, there’s a place for the animal lover in you to really help. Without these tasks being filled, finding furever homes for some of these animals would be near impossible.

Remember, volunteering is a serious commitment — almost like getting the actually pet. Not only does the organization take the time to train and trust you, but the animals learn to trust you as well.

Can’t get enough? Did you know you that you can turn your pup into a therapy dog?

Trump’s Mar-A-Lago paintings back in news after presidential debate

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One of the weirder sideshows of the presidential season is all the attention paid to portraits of Donald Trump.

At Wednesday night’s debate, Trump attacked Hillary Clinton over donations accepted by her family’s Clinton Foundation. She sparred back, mentioning his use of money by the Trump Foundation:

“I’d be happy to compare what (the Clinton Foundation does) with the Trump Foundation, which took money from other people and bought a 6-foot portrait of Donald. I mean, who does that? It just was astonishing.”

Clinton was referring to a six-foot tall portrait of Trump by Palm Beach County artist Michael Israel. The Washington Post reported that Trump Foundation money was used by Trump to buy the portrait during an auction at his Palm Beach mansion-club, Mar-A-Lago.

As Post reporter Jennifer Sorentrue wrote in a story on the controversy:

The 2007 painting sold for $20,000. According to Israel and press reports, Trump’s wife, Melania, bid $10,000 for the piece, before the auctioneer pushed her to double that number. The Donald J. Trump Foundation cut the check for the artwork, raising questions about whether the foundation broke IRS rules by bidding on an item that might have benefited Trump directly.

The charity auction was for the local non-profit HomeSafe, which helps children with housing issues. Since that story broke, Israel painted another portrait of Trump to help HomeSafe raise money. With a minimum bid of $15,000, nobody bid on the portrait and the online auction was closed.

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This isn’t the only story recently about a Trump painting. Reporters have been buzzing all election season about a Trump portrait hanging in the bar at Mar-A-Lago and the backstory of why Trump insisted that the hand on the portrait be repainted.

You can read the full story of that here:

Why did Trump insist artist repaint his hand on Mar-A-Lago portrait?

 

Halloween Horror Nights: killers, ghouls and one very scary little girl

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The face of ‘The Exorcist’s little possessed girl Regan (Linda Blair). who haunted my dreams for years as a kid. (Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort.)

ORLANDO — When the leaves turn brown and begin to fall, when the weather starts getting a tad nippier at night, when the NFL season is in full swing, that only means one thing….it’s time to get the living heck scared out of you at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort.

Yes, the 26th annual frightfest returns Friday, running on select nights through Oct. 31 with nine haunted houses, including those featuring Leatherface, the chainsaw-loving homicidal maniac from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre;” Michael Myers, the knife-wielding, slow-walking killer from, oh, 68 “Halloween”  films; the bloodthirsty zombies from AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and, the one I’m looking forward to most, the pea soup-spewing, head-spinning demonic little girl from “The Exorcist” – still the scariest movie ever made.

If that’s not enough, look for more chills and thrills inside “American Horror Story,” FX’s wildly popular anthology, but ridiculously violent, series and “Krampus,” a horned creature who punishes children at Christmastime. Gives new meaning to the “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” lyrics, “You better watch out/You better not cry/You better not pout/I’m telling you why,” doesn’t it?

Also look for five scare zones and two live shows.

Anyone who really knows me, knows Halloween Horror Nights is one of my favorite events of the year. I moved to Florida from New York in 1996 with my family and I’ve been to every HHN since.

What I looked like before venturing inside Michael Myers' house at Halloween Horror Nights two years ago.
What I looked like before venturing inside Michael Myers’ house at Halloween Horror Nights two years ago.

Two years ago was one of my favorites as I stood toe-to-toe with Michael Myers, wondering if I was going to make it out of his Haddonfield, Ill., house alive. OK, so I wasn’t really wondering that since this is all make-believe stuff, but, hey, work with me here.

This year, I’m psyched about “The Exorcist,” a movie that haunted my dreams for months after seeing it as an 11-year-old kid when the film premiered in 1973. I wasn’t alone. Moviegoers were reported fainting in theaters. I wasn’t that bad. I just covered my eyes a lot. If I had another set of hands, I would’ve covered my ears while little girl Regan (Linda Blair) was speaking in tongues. I still haven’t forgiven my mom for taking me.

Anyway, I’m 54 now. Way past the childhood trauma of watching a little girl’s head spin 360 degrees while she’s saying the kind of naughty things no little girl has any business saying.

At least, I hope I’m past that trauma. I’ve seen the film several times since 1973 and usually rent it around Halloween as part of my own personal “Horrorfest” movie marathon I host at home. But watching a film and seeing a possessed little girl whose voice is deeper than mine in person are two different things.

Look for an upcoming blog on my reaction to little girl Regan’s evil antics in the coming weeks.

For more ghoulish information on HHN, click here….if you dare! (Cue sinister laugh)

 

 

Palm Beach yacht wreck brings back memories of beached freighter

Socialite Mollie Wilmot stands near the 197-foot freighter that ran aground on her beachfront home in November, 1984. (Post file photo)
Socialite Mollie Wilmot stands near the 197-foot freighter, Mercedes, that ran aground at her oceanfront home in November, 1984.
(Post file photo)
The 72-foot yacht, Time Out, beached on the sand just south of the Palm Beach Inlet on September 7, 2016. (Post photo/Lannis Waters)
The 72-foot yacht, Time Out, beached on the sand just south of the Palm Beach Inlet on September 7, 2016. (Post photo/Lannis Waters)

The 72-foot yacht that ran aground on Palm Beach last week brought back memories of the time a storm drove a far-larger freighter into a socialite’s seawall for an uninvited three-month stay.

On Wednesday, yacht owner Thomas Henry Baker’s boat, the Time Out, ended up on the beach just south of the Palm Beach Inlet as he returned from a trip to the Bahamas.  Baker, who police say admitted drinking Long Island iced teas on board, blamed his GPS for directing him to shallow waters near the beach.  He was charged with boating under the influence, his second such arrest in the last month.

Back in 1984, Mollie Wilmot’s maid awakened her the day after Thanksgiving, saying the society hostess had guests at her oceanfront mansion, one door south of what was then still the Kennedy estate.

Wilmot expected it was the photographer scheduled to shoot her house for Town & Country magazine that day.

Instead, it was the captain and 10-member crew of a 197-foot Venezuelan freighter now towering over her pool cabana as the derelict rust bucket pounded her seawall into concrete chips.

Ever the hostess, Wilmot served the crew finger sandwiches, caviar and coffee in her gazebo, becoming the glamorous star of a reality show playing out on her beach.

I was working for a Miami TV station at the time and was among the gaggle of reporters and photographers who showed up later that day.

Reporter Barbara Marshall (at left) worked for a Miami TV station while covering the beaching of the Mercedes. (Post file photo.)
Reporter Barbara Marshall (at left) worked for a Miami TV station while covering the beaching of the Mercedes. (Post file photo.)

To us, Wilmot offered hot cocoa on cold mornings and icy martinis at cocktail hour almost every evening.  (I recall the network correspondents who didn’t have a story on the air that night indulging.  The rest of us were always on deadline or preparing for live shots.)

A Venezuelan freighter named Mercedes was an uninvited guest at socialite Mollie Wilmot's seawall, Thanksgiving weekend of 1984. (Post file photo)
A Venezuelan freighter named Mercedes was an uninvited guest at socialite Mollie Wilmot’s pool pavilion on Thanksgiving weekend of 1984. (Post file photo)

In her big white sunglasses, Wilmot, a horse breeder and department store heiress who died in 2002, became a national figure as she tottered around her pool patio, always wearing white while carrying her dog, a white fur ball named “Fluff.”

While various agencies debated how best to get the freighter afloat and reporters made bets on when it would be hauled out to sea, the droll Wilmot gathered her Palm Beach friends to sip cocktails and watch the news unfold live from her back yard.

After overstaying its welcome by 105 days, the Mercedes was finally hauled away to become an artificial reef off the Broward County coast.

Disney studios hoped to turn the saga into a movie called “Palm Beached,” but Wilmot balked at the choice of Bette Midler playing her as well as a plot line that had her cavorting with the ship’s captain.

Wilmot’s house was sold and demolished after her death.  A new house on the property sold for $23 million in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/11 anniversary: Why I can’t let go of my Sept. 11 ‘hurt locker’

090211 (Ray Graham/The Palm Beach Post)--Studio--We need a photo of this old Samsonite suitcase I have that is filled with a bunch of stuff from the week of 9/11/2001.
Post reporter Staci Sturrock’s old Samsonite suitcase is filled with ephemera from the week she spent in New York City covering 9/11. (File photo/The Palm Beach Post)

The 15th anniversary of 9/11 is Sunday. Palm Beach Post reporter Staci Sturrock wrote this column on the tenth anniversary of the attack:

It’s been years since I had the heart to sift through the contents of the vintage suitcase in my spare bedroom. But recently, I flipped open the latches of the hard-sided, marbled-green Samsonite.

There was the paper air-filter mask someone handed me on the streets of New York 10 years ago this Sunday.

There were the reporter’s note pads, scribbled with quotes like this one from an eyewitness to the attack on the twin towers: “At first, we were just watching the smoke, and then we saw people jumping or bodies falling out of the windows. They were like rag dolls.”

Or this one, jotted down two days later outside the Lexington Avenue Armory, where families sought help in locating what we then called “the missing”: “We just hope someone will tell us where we can go to find our son.”

And there, the pair of battered black sandals.

I wore the shoes most of that week, when I happened to be in New York to attend fashion shows, and wound up covering a national tragedy.

Now, I remember why I couldn’t bear to look inside the suitcase. It’s my very own “hurt locker” of recent history.

*****

The Samsonite is also a time capsule of sorts, a historic relic, a souvenir of an era long past.

This particular model was popular in the 1950s, when the person who drove you to the airport could escort you to the gate and kiss you goodbye. When you didn’t have to remove your shoes and belt and jacket to pass through security. When grabbing your bags and heading to the airport meant packing your sense of adventure, not a couple of Xanax.

Stored inside, I can see the technological changes of 10 years. There’s a small stack of faxes.

A horizontal credit-card receipt that had been put through an old-fashioned, sliding imprinter. A packet of 36-exposure film developed at an Eckerd drugstore, not instantly routed from a phone to my Facebook page.

The photos trace my path after I scribbled this note during the initial post-attack phone call from my editor: “first person story, center of the apocalypse, walk as far south as possible.”

And so, around 10 that morning, I headed south from my Times Square hotel. Along the way, I talked to dazed New Yorkers and aimed my point-and-shoot camera at pedestrians trudging mid-avenue, pausing to stare at smoke billowing in the distance.

Out on the streets, news updates weren’t as near as the palm of your hand. Smartphones? Tablet computers? Try the occasional transistor radio or jam box. I didn’t even own a cellphone then, and neither did the many residents waiting at pay phones to call home.

Here’s a photo of information-gathering, circa 2001: two dozen strangers huddled around a car, its windows rolled down and radio cranked up.

And here’s a snapshot of how quickly hospitals mobilized that morning — attached to a tree, a hand-lettered sign that read “Blood needed at St. Vincent’s.”

Scores waited in line to donate at the Greenwich Village hospital, where green-scrubbed doctors stood outside, next to office chairs draped in white sheets, ready to ferry the wounded who never arrived.

And, in my note pad, phrases evoking the surreal nature of a catastrophe that was simply unbelievable, even with the evidence written in a disfigured skyline:

“NYC bus goes by with paramedics in every seat. … Police riding in back of Ford F-250 pickup.”

“A priest wearing a dusty white hard hat.”

“Soot falling from sky like snowflakes.”

*****

In the end, I made it within half a mile of ground zero before encountering a policeman who had every reason to be impatient, but wasn’t. “I even threw NBC out,” he said.  “Unfortunately, you guys gotta go, too.”

The days that followed were a blur of interviews with tourists and mourners and downtown residents trying to retrieve the pets they’d hastily abandoned in apartment buildings adjacent to the Trade Center.

My photos do a poor job of conveying that week’s schizophrenic mix of pride, sorrow and hopefulness: American flags hung from fences and scaffolding. The makeshift memorials of roses and sunflowers, candles and messages of peace. Mailboxes papered over with missing-person fliers.

Those hastily Xeroxed pleas for information — which typically featured professionals in their prime, oblivious to the violent fate that awaited them — were mind-boggling in number.

Two posters were handed to me outside the Lexington armory, where many fathers and mothers, friends and co-workers sought out reporters, or anyone else, who would listen to their stories.

One shows a handsome 32-year-old man in a swimming pool with a young child. He is Mario Nardone, and on Sept. 15, 2001, The New York Times described the bonds broker, who worked on the 84th floor of the South Tower, as the guy with “the million-dollar smile and the million-dollar heart.”

Less than a week later, The Times ran an obit of the lovely woman on the other flier. Rosa Julia Gonzalez, also 32, a Port Authority secretary. After the terrorists flew into the South Tower, Gonzalez called one of her six sisters, then tried to make her way to the street from the 66th floor.

According to news reports, Gonzalez was descending the stairs with her friend Genelle Guzman-McMillan when the building collapsed. Almost 27 hours later, McMillan became the last person pulled alive from the wreckage.

Gonzalez was not so lucky.

*****

Last month, my boyfriend asked, gently and without judgment, if I’d like to get rid of the suitcase, or at least the contents that give it so much physical and emotional weight.

We’ll be in Lower Manhattan on Sunday, and maybe, he suggested, we could leave a few items in tribute at the new 9/11 Memorial, the one inscribed with 2,983 names.

I didn’t know what to say. He finally spoke: “You’re not ready to let it go.”

I guess I’m not, and I’m not sure why. I experienced 9/11 at such a remove that it’s wrong to say I “experienced” it at all. I wasn’t in the center of the apocalypse; I was an observer on its outskirts, and after six long days, I returned to the comforting routines of home.

But it seems heartless to discard the fliers or the photos or the note pads, or even say goodbye to those worn-out sandals.

Now, as I handle the shoes, lyrics from a favorite song by the folk trio The Be Good Tanyas come to mind:

You pass through places
And places pass through you
But you carry ’em with you
On the soles of your travellin’ shoes.

The suitcase is where I carry ’em with me — those memories of places I hope we never pass through again.

Melania Trump: Has she disappeared from the campaign trail?

Melania and Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago.
Melania and Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago.

Melania Trump made one of her first appearances since the Republican National Convention at Wednesday night’s Commander-In-Chief Forum, the Washington Post noted. While daughter Ivanka has been seen frequently on the campaign trail, Melania has been mostly mum since July.

The woman who may become First Lady is extremely private, as The Palm Beach Post’s Barbara Marshall reported. “It’s hard not to feel sorry for Melania Trump,” she wrote.

Read more:

What you don’t know about Melania Trump, the Potential First Lady.

Our complete coverage of Donald Trump’s candidacy.

 

 

 

Donald Trump’s 6 most fascinating body tics from Thursday speech

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Donald Trump takes the stage to accept the Republican nomination for president on the final night of the Republican National Convention. (Eric Thayer/The New York Times)

Donald Trump rallied the faithful with a rousing acceptance speech at Thursday night’s Republican National Convention. But we could have watched the speech with the sound off and been mesmerized by Mr. Mar-A-Lago‘s endless collection of facial expressions, tics and body language.

Our favorites (all photos from the Associated Press and Getty Images):

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THE FRENCH KISS (a k a The Air Kiss): No Al and Tipper Gore liplock plagiarism between The Donald and Melania after the speech last night. Campaign Rule No. 1: Don’t muss the makeup.

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THE PULL-DOWN: Throughout the speech, Trump would give his suit a quick downward adjustment and stand in a pre-emptive “Hail to The Chief” posture.

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THE POINTER: Trump’s fascination with his fingers has been well-documented. Need we say more?

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THE THUMBS-UP: See The Pointer above.

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THE GREAT PROFILE (with The Thumbs Up): A two-fer. Throughout the speech he would turn in profile and admire the crowd as it admired him.

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THE THIS-IS-YUGE!: Or the “Can You Believe It? I’m Gonna Be The President!”

Related: Palm Beach Post coverage of the convention in Cleveland and of Donald Trump’s candidacy

RNC 2016: Ivanka Trump “terrified” to introduce her father tonight

Ivanka Trump, her brothers and half-sister Tiffany, applaud a speaker at the RNC in Cleveland Tuesday night. (Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump, her brothers and half-sister Tiffany, applaud a speaker at the RNC in Cleveland Tuesday night.
(Getty Images)

Ivanka Trump Kushner says she’s “terrified” of her role at tonight’s Republican National Convention when she formally introduces her father as the GOP’s 2016 presidential candidate.

Speaking to NBC’s Savannah Guthrie this morning, Trump’s oldest daughter said, “I’ve never spoken in a stadium like this, but really I just want to make sure I do a great job for him. So it’s a real honor and a privilege that he asked me to do this, and I think it’s a testament to him as a parent.”

Ivanka, 34, daughter of Trump’s first wife, Ivana, also said, “I’m really comfortable with my speech because it comes from my heart.”

She also commented on the controversy surrounding Melania Trump’s speech that contained plagiarized phrases from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention.  A Trump speechwriter has come forward to take the blame.

“I love Melania so much and I am so proud of the job that she did,” Ivanka said. “She’s a very private person and for her to come out on that stage and speak from the heart and share her story about coming to this country.

“This is such a personal experience for her and she shared it in such a graceful and articulate way, so I am enormously impressed with her ability to do that and have great respect for it.”

During the campaign, Ivanka has often been the Trump family spokesperson since Melania prefers to remain in the background with her son, Baron.

Ivanka with her father at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach in 2012. (Post file photo)
Ivanka with her father at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach in 2012. (Post file photo)

 

 

Related: Ivanka Trump: Not the Trump You’re Expecting

Related: Palm Beach Post coverage of the convention in Cleveland and of Donald Trump’s candidacy