First lady Michelle Obama. (AP)

The White House steered clear Tuesday of the controversy over Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Passages of her address Monday night appeared to be largely copied from a 2008 speech by first lady Michelle Obama.

Asked about the similarities, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he would leave the “color commentary” to reporters. He said President Obama did not watch the convention but is aware of the news coverage of Trump’s remarks.

“In 2008, when Mrs. Obama spoke at the Democratic convention, she received an enthusiastic reception and strong reviews because of her words, her life story and the values she and her husband deeply believe in and try to instill in their kids,” Earnest said. “These are American values and what we all strive for when we are at our best.”

Michelle Obama also did not address the topic Tuesday during an appearance before reporters at a White House summit for college-bound students.