President Donald Trump accused New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio of stealing his campaign slogan on Tuesday, but Trump has his own history of borrowing famous campaign slogans.
Signs bearing the slogan “Promises Made, Promises Kept” have been a frequent sight at post-2016 Trump rallies. So when de Blasio was spotted standing in front of a sign bearing the same phrase on Monday, the New York Daily News was quick to point out the coincidence.
But despite it being frequently touted at his trademark rallies, that slogan didn’t originate with Trump. In the past, it was used by Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1995 and emblazoned on re-election buttons for then-President Bill Clinton.
According to Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, the slogan was even used at the 1968 Democratic National Convention:
“Promises Made. . .Promises Kept” was a Democratic slogan displayed at party convention in Chicago, 50 years ago next week: pic.twitter.com/niqLUt2n0u
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) August 21, 2018
Of course, that didn’t stop Trump from lambasting the New York City mayor on Twitter for the perceived slight. “That’s not at all nice,” Trump wrote, adding that de Blasio has “[n]o imagination!”
Bill DeBlasio, the high taxing Mayor of NYC, just stole my campaign slogan: PROMISES MADE PROMISES KEPT! That’s not at all nice. No imagination! @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2018
But Trump may want to be careful when throwing around allegations of stolen campaign slogans. The “Make America Great Again” slogan that defined the 2016 election cycle isn’t exactly original.
Trump’s 2016 slogan is just one word off from a famous slogan employed by Ronald Reagan in 1980:
By Trump’s account, he coined “Make America Great Again” the day after Mitt Romney failed to defeat Barack Obama in 2012 — over 30 years after Reagan utilized nearly the same slogan. Trump recounted the origin of his campaign slogan in a January 2017 interview with The Washington Post.
“I said, ‘That is so good.’ I wrote it down,” he said. “I went to my lawyers. I have a lot of lawyers in-house. We have many lawyers. I have got guys that handle this stuff. I said, ‘See if you can have this registered and trademarked.'”