It's not just the speechwriter.
From my perspective, there is a lot of 'forgiveness' for Melania, saying that the speechwriter should be fired. At the time of this writing, the speechwriter has, indeed, given her notice, but Donald Trump hasn't yet accepted her resignation.
For those who haven't spoken, or been a speechwriter, allow me to make something abundantly clear: Speechwriting is a collaborative process. High-profile speeches are never written on behalf of someone without direct communication, intimacy and deep awareness of the speaker's personality. This is precisely what differentiates a good speech from a bad one.
This concept is even more relevant when you are writing for the wife of a presidential candidate. It wasn't...and couldn't be...a situation where the speechwriter is chasing after Melania, gasping for air, as she's entering the stage to hand her the speech she's about to give to the free world.
Melania knew perfectly well, presumably since about the time Donald was nominated, what the focus of her speech would be, and precisely what was being written on her behalf.
It's about character.
So, let's think about that decision...the decision to either approve [or perhaps even suggest?] that plagiarized material would be an acceptable choice for her first speech as a potential First Lady.
As has already been noted, college students get expelled for this type of decision. It's not excusable at that stage of life, either, but if one imagines their own child doing this [or even remember doing it themselves], it's seen as a poor choice. It's a dark mark on anyone's character no matter their age.
Bottom line: People see plagiarism as lacking in creativity, intelligence and integrity. Without knowing a single thing about an individual, knowing someone has plagiarized is a small peek inside their moral character.
It's about a lost opportunity.
Let's think about her opportunity for a moment. To Melania, it's quite possible that she feels her husband is widely misunderstood. She sees a different side of the Republican Presidential nominee and I'm guessing she would probably prefer that voters see him in the same way. It was an opportunity for her to communicate his qualities; the softer, balanced side of Donald.
Did she not have anything to say about him, or his potential as the President of the United States?
It was also Melania's opportunity to impact the way people see her. She's gorgeous; a model, and she isn't from the United States. But even though Barbara Walter's interview might have exposed her intelligence, by choosing to plagiarize, she threw away an opportunity to be the intelligent, connected and conscious wife who might later end up as an invaluable support to a world leader. Who wouldn't want to grasp that opportunity to ensure their voice is heard?
Melania blew it. She blew her chance to support her husband in an authentic way, convert some voters and inspire women. What does that tell you? To me, it speaks volumes. Putting Donald's abrasive behavior aside, would you want a First Lady who presumably can't speak for herself, doesn't have anything original to share about a presidential candidate, or can't address the United States with the courtesy of an honest and personal speech?