Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his family rejected a resignation offer from a speechwriter working for his wife, according to a statement released by the campaign Wednesday as the GOP looked to shift the focus to the remaining days of the its convention.
The statement, signed by Trump Organization staff writer Meredith McIver, said Melania Trump read to her over the phone passages from a Michelle Obama speech that erroneously ended up in the nationally televised address Monday.
"I apologize for the confusion and hysteria my mistake has caused," said McIver in the statement, which was released minutes after Donald Trump complained on Twitter about unfair media treatment surrounding the speech -- and said the publicity was still to his benefit.
McIver said the statement was her attempt to help shift attention back to the campaign of Trump, who arrived in Cleveland on Wednesday afternoon.
Trump was greeted by his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, marking the duo's first joint appearance at his nominating convention. Pence, who Trump said will "make an unbelievable vice president of the United States," will take the stage at the Quicken Loans Arena in prime-time Wednesday.
It's not yet clear whether the campaign's moves, two days after the speech, will effectively swing the spotlight onto the final two days of a gathering intended to project strength heading into the general election against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The responses came after a top Donald Trump aide spent the morning urging the media to move on from the story.
Campaign chairman Paul Manafort had said Melania Trump's speech -- which used some of the same language as a 2008 convention address by Obama -- wasn't a case of plagiarism because the phrases were, in his view, common and sincere. He told CNN host Chris Cuomo to "move on" in an interview on Wednesday. “I can’t move on, because you keep lying about it," Cuomo retorted.
After plagiarism claims marred the convention's opening-night program, Tuesday went more smoothly, as delegates voted to formally nominate Donald Trump and two of his adult children paid tribute to him in prime-time speeches.
Melania Trump's speech on Monday set off a fresh round of infighting between the candidate's loyalists in Cleveland, where the convention was underway.
Ousted Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Tuesday that the person who approved the speech should be held accountable. "I think if it was Paul Manafort, he would do the right thing and resign," Lewandowski said on CNN.
Manafort on Wednesday said it wasn't him. "I wasn’t involved in the process. It was a collaborative process. What came in where, I don’t know,” he said on Fox News.
Trump's son Donald Jr. then piled on Lewandowski too. “Corey’s been a great surrogate but I’m not going to allow nonsense to be perpetuated because someone’s looking to get on TV,” Donald Jr. said Wednesday at a Wall Street Journal Breakfast.
-- With assistance from Ben Brody and Toluse Olorunnipa.