Plagiarizing a Dissertation Puts Trump Pick in Question

President-elect Trump's choice for the senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council is Monica Crowley, a political commentator. Politico reviewed her dissertation in international relations from Columbia University and found multiple issues of using quotations with quotation marks, paraphrasing too closely, and missing citations.

The example shown here is one of twelve Politico questioned.

Crowley Plagiarism

The Trump team is standing by their candidate: "Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country." And Columbia University is trying to avoid the controversy, as a media representative told The Chronicle of Higher Ed:

"We have no comment on Monica Crowley's dissertation, which was submitted in 2000 and is publicly available. The university's process for addressing concerns raised about university research preserves the confidentiality of any review, and even the fact of a review's existence is confidential while it is underway. Columbia is committed to upholding the very highest standards of integrity and credibility in academic research."

CNN reports more than 50 instances of plagiarism in Crowley's 2012 book, What the (Bleep) Just Happened? In a statement, publisher HarperCollins said, "The book, which has reached the end of its natural sales cycle, will no longer be offered for purchase until such time as the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material."


  • Review the examples presented by Politico and CNN. What principles of documenting sources described in Chapter 10 are missed?
  • Is this a big deal, or is the media overblowing the situation, as the Trump team believes? Does her potential position as the senior director of strategic communications influence your opinion?
  • What should happen now? How should Crowley and the Trump team handle her pending position?