- Donald Trump arrived at the NYC funeral of first wife Ivana Trump — with his current wife, Melania.
- Security was tight at the Manhattan church, with Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump also in attendance.
- Ivana died Thursday from an accidental fall at home, a block from the Upper East Side gothic-style church.
Donald Trump has a love-hate relationship with funerals — but on Wednesday afternoon, he took a starring role at the New York City Mass for his first wife, Ivana Trump.
All heads turned as the former president and former first lady Melania arrived with an entourage of Secret Service for the Roman Catholic rite honoring the vivacious 73-year-old socialite, a celebrity in her own right long after her 1977-1992 marriage to the man she called « The Donald. »
Donald and Melania Trump’s son, Barron, 16, sat in the front row with his parents. Tiffany Trump, daughter of the Trump’s second wife, Marla Maples, was in attendance, though Maples was not.
The church was filled with a thousand of Ivana’s favorite red roses, and was « drenched in tears, » throughout the two-hour mass, publicist R. Couri Hay told Insider.
Ivana’s coffin was draped in a purple cloth and topped by a golden cross under the soaring stone ceiling of the stately Roman Catholic church.
« Ivana would want a big, glamorous celebration of her life, » said Hay, a friend for 40 years. « Today she’s right where she belongs. In the spotlight and in heaven. »
Donald and Melania Trump used an arched limestone and granite side door to enter the 1918, gothic-style Church of St. Vincent Ferrer on Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side.
Ivana and Donald Trump’s three children, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, along with their own families, had already followed the gold-colored casket inside for the private Mass a block from the townhome where an accidental fall took the life of their mother on Thursday.
Mourners were greeted at the church front by a guest book and a large photo of the former model and skiier in all her ’80s splendor, looking « glamorous in a blue gown, » Hay told Insider.
All three of Donald and Ivana’s children delivered eulogies for their mother, he said, describing some of their remarks.
Ivanka broke down in tears several times as she addressed the 400 mourners at the church. But many smiled as Ivanka warmly remembered her mother chastising her for wearing a mini skirt that « wasn’t mini enough. »
« Flaunt it while you have it, » was Ivana’s motherly wisdom.
Mourners also smiled as Ivanka recalled one of her mother’s favorite catch phrases, always delivered in her native Czech accent: « There’s nothing I can’t do better than in high heels. »
« Ivanka looked absolutely perfect — she is her mother’s daughter — in a fitted black dress and white pearls, » Hay said.
Donald Trump Jr. remembered his mother’s reaction when he threw a temper tantrum at Gosman’s restaurant in Montauk, in the Hamptons, at around 4 years old.
« My mother took me to the bathroom and gave me some old world punishment, » he remembered to laughs.
« And I left with my butt red. She told me if I cry, she’d bring me back for more. That probably wouldn’t fly today, but maybe it should because I was a perfect little boy for the rest of that dinner , » Hay recalled Donald Trump Jr. saying fondly during his eulogy.
Eric Trump praised his mother’s brains and beauty and said she « could beat any man down the slopes, any woman on the runway, » the New York Post reported. She was « the embodiment of the American dream, » he said.
She did not see death coming. « The night before she passed, she told me she was going to live to 120 years old, » the Post reported Eric told mourners.
The Trump family had earlier Wednesday attended a nearby private funeral at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel.
Trump — who cringingly paired an announcement of Ivana Trump’s death with a request for political donations — did not deliver remarks.
Security was high throughout the Mass. The street where the former president and first lady entered the church was closed except to the motorcade. Some 100 members of the press gathered outside.
Also outside, and despite the 90-plus-degree heat, several neighborhood fans paid their respects.
« Ivana was very reserved, because, you know, people always wanted something from her, » said one neighbor and acquaintance, Marie Noelle Levin, a native of France who declined to give her age.
« But she’s a European like me and we know how to keep things close, » said Levin, whose daughter attended ballet school with Ivanka.
« I admired her a lot — the way I would admire people who come from my home continent and have amazing lives here. »
As president, Donald Trump held a White House funeral for his brother, Robert, six months before leaving office. But he generally shunned state funerals.
He missed civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis’s funeral in Atlanta, which was attended two summers ago by Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, all of whom delivered eulogies.
The former president was known, however, to show up at memorial services — unannounced — at his Mar-a-Lago resort, likely driven by his love of an audience.
One resort member told Bloomberg that Trump not only crashed a memorial service there but made a speech and hung around for the « adulation » afterward.
Trump is not the first former president or Washington A-lister to attend a funeral at the stately Upper East Side church where Andy Warhol once worshipped.
A decade ago, Bill Clinton and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the funeral of one-time presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, as did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.