Donald and Ivana Trump in May, 1988 (Image: AAP/AP)
Donald and Ivana Trump in May, 1988 (Image: AAP/AP)

Ivana Trump, glamorous Czech-American businesswoman, skier, model, socialite, author and first wife of former US president Donald Trump, has died, age 73, from a suspected cardiac arrest in her Upper East Side apartment in New York City. Meanwhile, mimicking the class v crassness of their marriage, Donald Trump’s people have been accused of using her death to rattle the donation tin.

In what may well be his first truth posted there, Donald Trump announced the news in a post to his social media platform, Truth Social, saying, “I am very saddened to inform all of those that loved her, of which there are many, that Ivana Trump has passed away at her home in New York City.”

“She was a wonderful, beautiful and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life. Her pride and joy were her three children … She was so proud of them, as we were all so proud of her. Rest In Peace, Ivana!”

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She leaves behind her three children, Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric.

Ivana: so much more than a Trump

Ivana Trump may have died on the same day that her daughter, Ivanka Trump, is trending on the internet for appearing on tape at the January 6 Committee (a committee investigating her first husband’s involvement in a violent uprising against the US government), but Ivana is being remembered for so much more than her links to the possibly treasonous former president. 

Ivana Trump was born in what is now the Czech Republic in 1949 and through a strategic marriage managed to secure an Austrian passport to escape communist Czechoslovakia, emigrating first to Canada, where she lived with George Syrovatka while working as a model and as a ski instructor in his ski boutique in Montreal. She moved to the US after meeting Donald Trump in New York City in 1976 when she was on a trip to the city with a group of fellow models. The pair married in 1977 at Marble Collegiate Church.

Throughout the ’80s, Ivana was a fixture in the New York social scene and tabloid press, her sophistication reportedly opening doors that Donald Trump’s crassness could never. She was also the one that bestowed the nickname “The Donald” on her husband, a moniker that stuck (though admittedly it perhaps brings to mind a different “The Donald” now than it did in the ’80s).

Ivana was a successful businesswoman, playing a critical role in building the Trump real estate empire. She was the vice president for interior design for his company, choosing the famous pink marble of Trump Tower, and was appointed CEO and president of the Trump Castle Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, and managed the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan after her husband bought it in 1988.

After the couple’s very public divorce in 1992, she continued with her business pursuits, developing a line of clothing and beauty products, investing in real estate and writing several books.

Ivana Trump will be remembered as the better, more glamorous half of one of New York’s biggest ever power couples, as a powerful businesswoman and a dedicated mother.

Meanwhile, The Donald is all class

The former president is under fire for using the death of his first wife as a fundraising opportunity to “Save America”. Andrea Mitchell, chief Washington correspondent of NBC News, tweeted this fundraising email out earlier today, US time (if you click into the tweet you’ll see a red donate button under the announcement).

The email is from Save America PAC, a political action committee formed by Trump in 2020. The organisation sent out an email with Donald Trump’s statement on Ivana’s death with a big red donate button below.

Save America PAC has been asked whether the donate button is standard across all their emails, and it is yet to respond.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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