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Ivana Trump: 'I have the direct number to the White House'

October 09, 2017 - 6:40 am

(NEW YORK) -- President Donald Trump’s first wife, Ivana Trump, said she has a “direct number” to the White House, turned down the U.S. ambassadorship to the Czech Republic and takes “full credit” for raising the couple’s three children.

Those are just a few of the revelations Ivana Trump, 68, made in a sit-down interview with ABC News’ Amy Robach to promote her new memoir, “Raising Trump.”

The book, set to be released Tuesday, documents Trump’s journey from growing up under Communist rule in the former Czechoslovakia to marrying a future U.S. president and raising their three children together -- Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump.

Below are seven key revelations about Trump’s life as a mother and the first of President Trump’s three wives.

1. 'I was in charge'

When Donald and Ivana Trump divorced in 1992, she told him that when it came to raising their three children together, "There can be only one chef in the kitchen."

"I would go and call Donald, I said, 'Ivanka is going to Chapin, or she's going to go to the Georgetown University. Eric is going to go to Hill School,' and he said, 'Okay,'" she recalled. "I was in charge."

She continued, "I just told him where they're going to go, and he said, 'Okay.' He trusted my judgment, because I know the personality of my kids."

During the formative years of their children's childhoods, Donald Trump was "on the telephone making the deals," she said. She added she takes "full credit" for raising Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka.

"He was a loving father, don't get me wrong, and he was a good provider, but he was not the father which would take a stroll and go to the Central Park or go play to baseball with them or something," she said, adding "It was only until they were about 18-year-old [that] he could communicate with them, because he could start to talk business with them.

"Before, he really didn't know what conversation to strike with the little kids."

2. 'Every person in America hated him and they loved me'

President Trump could have accomplished his political ambitions much earlier had it not been for the scandal that engulfed his marriage to Ivana Trump, she said.

"Donald got [a] letter from President Reagan, and he said, 'You should run for president,' and that was 20 years ago," she said. "And I think he could do it if there would not be a scandal."

She added, "You know, because every American woman hated him, and every American hated him. There was no way he could run during the scandal time."

Ivana Trump was married to President Trump from 1977 to 1992, when their marriage dissolved amid revelations that he was having an affair with Marla Maples, who later became his second wife.

Ivana Trump has forgiven her ex-husband, but said she will never forgive Maples, whose affair with her husband was splashed on the New York tabloids.

"I never accepted her apology," Ivana Trump said. "She ruined my family and my marriage."

3. 'I would hate Washington'

Ivana Trump said she speaks to her ex-husband around once every two weeks, and she has a "direct number" to the White House.

She said she has no desire to change places with the current first lady, Melania Trump.

"I think for her to be in Washington must be terrible," Ivana Trump said. "It's better her than me. I would hate Washington."

She continued, "Would I straighten up the White House in 14 days? Absolutely. Can I give the speech for 45 minutes without [a] teleprompter? Absolutely. Can I read a contract? Can I negotiate? Can I entertain? Absolutely. But I would not really like to be there. I like my freedom."

She said that keeping her freedom also meant turning down what she says was an offer from the president of the Czech Republic to be the U.S. ambassador.

"Well, Donald called me and he said, 'If you want to take the position, I [will] give it to you,'" Trump said. "I said, 'Donald, no. I want my freedom.'"

Speaking of her advice for his presidency, Ivana Trump said, "Sometimes I tell him to just, not to speak that much, and tweet are the tweets. I don't disagree with him because he has so much press against him, so if he says something his words are going to be twisted immediately."

"If he tweets, the whole world can really get his mind and what is his in mind, and he can tell it in his own words."

4. 'Opportunity to go and prove myself'

When asked if she believes Donald Trump is sexist, she spoke about her own experience while married to the real estate mogul.

"Donald gave me all the opportunity to go and prove myself," she said. "I built the Commander Hotel. I built the Trump Tower. Then Donald [sent] me to Atlantic City, and I was flying at 8 in the morning after breakfast with the kids to Atlantic City on the helicopter."

She continued, "I think that Donald supports the woman. He loves the woman. Always did. He definitely respected women."

Ivana Trump said she has "not really" spoken to the president about the "Access Hollywood" tape that was released during the presidential campaign. In the 2005 video, Trump, then the star of NBC's "The Apprentice," brags about his ability to grope women because he's "a star."

"He was not really disrespectful. He just jokes. Sometime he said things which are silly," she said. When asked by Robach if she thought he was joking about grabbing women, Ivana Trump added, "Okay, well, that was one instance, and I just wouldn't, I don't want to go into it."

5. Future Trump presidencies

Ivana said she could see both her daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her son-in-law, Jared Kushner, becoming future presidents. The married couple currently serve as senior advisers in the Trump White House.

"I think they both could do it," she said of her daughter and Kushner, who moved their three children to Washington, D.C. from New York.

"[The] only thing which I regret [is] that Ivanka moved to Washington, so I don't see the grandkids that often, I don't see her that often," she said. "But everything else they do, it's their destination, you know. They do what they want to do and, like I said, they don't cheat, steal, and lie and as long as they do that, it's okay with me."

Ivana Trump revealed it is her 35-year-old daughter who can best voice a difference of opinion to the president.

"Oh, absolutely. Ivanka is number one," she said. "All my kids are, you know, they're not afraid of him. A lot of people, they're afraid to criticize him and they sort of stay behind. But my kids tell him exactly, you know, how they feel, and you take it or leave it."

6. Marrying into the Trump family was not intimidating

Ivana Trump said she was taken by Donald Trump's looks and his mind when they met in the 1970s.

When it came time to propose, Trump tried to woo her beforehand by warning her of what her life would be without him.

"For months before, you know, he said, 'If you're not going to go marry me, you're going to ruin your life,'" she recalled.

The couple wed in what Ivana Trump described as a wedding with six of her friends from Montreal, where she lived before the nuptials, and 600 people from New York.

"I did not know anybody," she said.

Once she was a Trump, Ivana encountered the patriarch of the family, her husband’s father, real estate developer Fred Trump.

"Fred Trump was [a] really brutal father," she said. "We went to Tavern on the Green for the brunch one Sunday and [Trump’s] father ordered a steak. So all the, you know, the sisters and brothers, they ordered a steak."

"And I said, 'Waiter, can I have a filet of sole? And Fred looked up at the waitress and, 'No, she's going to have a steak.' I look up at the waiter, I said, 'No, Ivana is going to have a filet of sole,' -- because if I would let him just [roll] right over me, it would be all my life and I would not allowed it."

7. Donald Trump worried his son could be a 'loser'

When Ivana Trump was pregnant with the couple's first child, she said her husband told her they could not name their son Donald Trump, Jr. because of a specific concern.

"I said, 'Why not?,'" she recalled. "He said, 'How about if he's a loser?'"

She continued, "So I said, 'This is going to be what it is. I carry my kid for nine months, and this is what's going to be. And the same was with Ivanka. He wanted to call Ivanka Tiffany, because we got the heir rights for the Trump Tower from [luxury retailer] Tiffany."

Donald Trump, Jr., now 39, found himself at the center of a political firestorm involving his father's presidency earlier this year when it was revealed that he met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Donald and Ivana Trump named their only daughter Ivanka. Donald Trump would go onto have another daughter, named Tiffany, with Maples.

Bonus: Ivana Trump's children and ex-husband have not read her memoir

Ivana Trump said her three children have not yet read "Raising Trump," though they each did contribute writings.

The president has also not read the book, she said.

"It's about my life and raising my kids," she explained. "And he's in the book because he was father of the kids, but I did not ask him for permission."

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