Donald Trump stars at Ivana Trump's funeral despite his love-hate relationship with funerals in general

Donald Trump stars at Ivana Trump's funeral despite his love-hate relationship with funerals in general
  • Trump on Wednesday attended the funeral of his first wife, Ivana, with his current wife, Melania.

  • Security was tight at the Manhattan church, with Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric also in attendance.

  • Ivana died Thursday at her 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 Mass in New York for his first wife, Ivana Trump.

All heads turned as the former president and the former first lady Melania Trump arrived with an entourage of Secret Service agents for the Roman Catholic rite honoring the vivacious 73-year-old socialite, a celebrity in her own right long after her 15-year 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, the daughter of Donald Trump's second wife, Marla Maples, was in attendance, though Maples was not.

The Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, on Manhattan's tony Upper East Side, was filled with a thousand of Ivana Trump's favorite red roses and "drenched in tears" throughout the two-hour Mass, the publicist R. Couri Hay told Insider.

Her coffin was draped in a purple cloth and topped with 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.

Donald Trump and family members gathered outside in front of a church.
Donald Trump and family members step outside St. Vincent Ferrer Roman Catholic Church after Ivana Trump's funeral mass on Wednesday.Erika Ramirez/Insider

Ivana and Donald Trump's three children, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, along with their families, had already followed the gold casket inside for the private Mass a block from the townhome where an accident had taken the life of their mother on Thursday.

Mourners were greeted at the front by a guest book and a large photo of the former model and skier in all her '80s splendor, looking "glamorous in a blue gown," Hay told Insider.

All three of Donald and Ivana Trump's children delivered eulogies for their mother, he said, describing some of their remarks.

Ivanka Trump broke down in tears several times as she addressed the 400 mourners at the church. But many smiled as she warmly remembered her mother chastising her for wearing a miniskirt that "wasn't mini enough."

"Flaunt it while you have it" was her motherly wisdom.

Mourners also smiled as Ivanka Trump recalled one of her mother's catchphrases, 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, when he was about 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. He added that she was "the embodiment of the American dream."

He told the mourners, according to the Post, that "the night before she passed, she told me she was going to live to 120 years old."

The Trump family had earlier Wednesday attended a nearby private funeral at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel.

Donald Trump — who 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 journalists gathered outside.

Also outside, and despite the 90-plus-degree heat, several neighborhood admirers paid their respects.

"Ivana was very reserved, because, you know, people always wanted something from her," said 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 Trump.

"I admired her a lot — the way I would admire people who come from my home continent and have amazing lives here."

A casket being carried inside to a church.
Pallbearers carrying Ivana Trump's casket.Erika Ramirez/Insider

Several months before leaving office, Donald Trump held a White House funeral for his brother Robert. But he generally shunned state funerals.

He missed the civil-rights leader Rep. John Lewis' funeral in Atlanta two summers ago, attended by Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, all of whom delivered eulogies.

Trump was, however, known to show up at memorial services, unannounced, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, likely driven by his love of an audience.

One resort member told Bloomberg last year that Trump had 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 the onetime vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, as did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Read the original article on Business Insider