Ivana Trump Talks Ivanka, Melania & More in Rare Interview — and Echoes Her Ex in Disparaging Immigrants
In a rare interview this week, Ivana Trump sounded off on a range of things and, much like her most famous ex-husband has, drew criticism for "inhumane" comments on immigration.
During an appearance on the U.K. talk show Loose Women on Monday, the businesswoman and former model, 71, discussed her family, the Trump administration and other topics.
In remarks that echoed President Donald Trump, who has a history of disparaging immigrants as criminals, Ivana criticized "a lot of people, they don’t dress even American, they dress in whatever they dress in and they don’t get jobs and they steal and they rape the women."
"I have absolutely no problem with the immigrants, but they have to come to the country legally," she said. "They have to get a job, they have to pay taxes like the rest of Americans and just live and be well and just [mesh] into the society."
Ivana praised the president as "pro everything I believe in. He is Republican and so am I. He's achieved so much, especially with immigration."
Co-host Jane Moore pushed back, telling her: "Obviously you have a very privileged life and what you've just said about migrants I think a lot of people would find quite offensive because obviously you're a migrant yourself — are you not shutting the door behind you? Do you not understand that a lot of people have desperate lives and they just want a better life? And how you describe them is quite inhumane."
"Well it is inhumane and it is that," Ivana told Moore, "but everybody has to pick themselves up, they have to go and apply for the visa properly, that they come to America, they can come and cross the border properly."
"Those opportunities are very few and far between now, aren't they?" Moore responded.
"Well it is. But the people which has a will, they prevail. People that don't want to work and which just want to come to America and get the benefits and get the food stamps and sleep on the benches, this is what we don't want," Ivana said.
Elsewhere in her appearance, Ivana said it wouldn't be too far-fetched, in her mind, for daughter Ivanka Trump to one day be sworn in as commander-in-chief.
The 38-year-old first daughter works as a senior adviser to her father, President Donald Trump. She has been a lightning rod in her own way, in the eyes of Trump critics.
Ivana was firmly in her daughter's corner.
"I tell you, I think, she's in the White House every day, you know? She's next to her father every day. She knows all what is going around," she said on Loose Women. "I think she could be one day the first woman president, definitely. She's smart as hell, she's beautiful, she's au courant. How much more you can have?"
The president was married to Ivana — with whom he had Ivanka, Donald Trump Jr., 42, and Eric Trump, 36 — from 1977 to 1992. He was then married to Marla Maples — with whom he had daughter Tiffany Trump, 26 — from 1993 to 1999 (following a notorious cheating scandal with Maples while still married to Ivana).
Trump then married First Lady Melania Trump, with whom he shares son Barron, born in 2005. (Ivana was briefly wed to Alfred Winklmayr in the '70s before marrying Trump; she later married Riccardo Mazzucchelli and Rossano Rubicondi.)
Ivana, who said Monday she's now "very good friends" with her ex, also spoke about not getting to know Mrs. Trump, 50.
"No, I speak directly to Mr. President," she said. "I don't get involved with the ex-wives and his private life. We talk about our children, sometimes we talk about economics ... but we don't talk about the ex-wives."
In response to being asked whether the first lady is doing a good job, Ivana said she was "not sure," adding: "She is very quiet, and she doesn't really go to too many places. She goes to stuff when she has to go, but she's quiet."
In 2017, Ivana told ABC News, laughing, that "I have the direct number to White House but I don't really want to call him there because Melania is there and I don't really want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that because I'm basically first Trump wife, okay? I'm first lady, okay?"
(Mrs. Trump's spokeswoman responded at the time: "There is clearly no substance to this statement from an ex, this is unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise.")
In the January 2018 book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, author Michael Wolff claimed that Ivanka has had her sights set on one day becoming president from the get-go, with husband Jared Kushner in support of the aspiration.
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“Balancing risk against reward, both Jared and Ivanka decided to accept roles in the West Wing over the advice of almost everyone they knew. It was a joint decision by the couple, and, in some sense, a joint job. Between themselves, the two had made an earnest deal: If sometime in the future the opportunity arose, she’d be the one to run for president. The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump,” Wolff wrote in a preview piece published at the time in New York magazine.
Wolff's book was roundly criticized by the White House after it was published, though he had access to the administration while reporting it.
Ivanka, who joined the White House in 2017, has been praised by some for her work on women's and workforce issues. But she has also been accused by critics of nepotism and hypocrisy for her role as a senior aide practicing a kind of strategic silence — less inflammatory than her father but a proponent of his policies.
Ivanka's role in helping pass a December 2019 law that extended paid parental leave, for example, was called out by late-night host Samantha Bee, who was previously caught in a brief controversy after calling the first daughter a “feckless c---" (for which she later apologized).
“I guess even a Trump has to do something right occasionally,” Bee joked on her show after the law passed.