6 Times Ivana Trump Was Brutally Honest About Donald

Donald and Ivana Trump may have finalized their divorce in 1991, but they continued to be part of each other's lives. And, as his ex-wife, Ivana felt no need to hold anything back when asked about him. She didn't seem to care if her opinions were interpreted as jabs. Over the years, Ivana has commented on Donald's eating habits, criticized his parenting, and reprimanded his carelessness amid his COVID-19 diagnosis, in addition to taking credit for some of his most impactful professional decisions.

But Ivana, who died in July 2022, didn't always put her sharp tongue to use. For the most part, she praised and defended Donald, the father of her children. In 2016, she came out in support of his presidential run. "I have nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign," she told CNN. "Incidentally, I think he would make an incredible president." Ivana also made some interesting claims about how close she was to Donald, saying she had a direct line at the White House.

She didn't use it, though. She didn't want to make Donald's wife, Melania, jealous. "I don't want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that, because I'm basically first Trump wife. OK? I'm first lady," she said on ABC's "Good Morning America" in 2017. It's unclear if Ivana stirred any jealousy in Melania, but she prompted a harsh response from the then-first lady. Once again, Ivana proved she didn't care about hurting feelings. 

Ivana Trump took at jab at Donald's fast food obsession

Ivana Trump maintained her shape thanks to a disciplined lifestyle. Even though she tried to pass on her wisdom to Donald Trump, her ex-husband failed to assimilate it. "I can tell him 100 times, but he does what he wants anyway," she told the New York Post in 2018. And he saw the consequences of his stubbornness. While Ivana stayed the same weight her whole life, Donald saw the number on the scale jump from 178 to 225 pounds. 

However, she believes Donald has good genes and managed to stay relatively in good shape despite his lifestyle shortcomings. "He looks very, very good and is very healthy — his only weakness is the Big Mac, what can I tell you?" she said. It is no secret that the presidential candidate has a soft spot for fast food. His son-in-law Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump's husband, revealed what he orders at McDonald's, illustrating what Ivana meant by weakness. "Big Mac, Filet-o-Fish, fries and a vanilla shake," he told the New York Post in 2022.

In January 2019, the then-president made a splash when he announced he intended to serve fast food at the White House banquet for the college football champions Clemson Tigers amid a government shutdown. "McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King's with some pizza. I think that would be their favorite food, so we'll see what happens," he told reporters, adding he would pay for the meals himself, according to CNN.

Ivana Trump criticized Donald's actions amid COVID-19 diagnosis

Social media had a field day when Donald and Melania Trump had COVID-19 in October 2020. But his detractors weren't the only ones to point a finger at the smugness he displayed before his diagnosis. Ivana Trump was right there with them. "He was careless," she told People. "He didn't think it would happen to him." She was shocked he caught the virus, though. "[He's] the cleanest, healthiest person. Not healthiest with food, but very healthy otherwise — always washes his hands and always is careful," she said.

Donald's hospitalization scared her. After all, Donald — seen above heading to the hospital — had comorbidities that increased his chances for complications, including his age and his weight. "I am afraid," she said. "I'm going to be afraid until he gets well and he gets out of it." He made a full recovery and left the hospital three days later. In true Donald fashion, he used his experience to continue to minimize the risks of the virus. "Don't let it dominate you," he said in a video posted to X, previously known as Twitter. "Don't be afraid of it."

He may have downplayed the seriousness of the virus, but Donald was reportedly a lot more sick than he let on. His blood oxygen levels plummeted to dangerous levels, nearly leading medical professionals to put him on a ventilator, The New York Times reported in February 2021. It sounds like Ivana wasn't worrying for no reason. 

Ivana Trump said Donald was an absent father

Ivana Trump admired many facets of Donald Trump, but his parenting skills weren't among them. She has no issues telling the world he wasn't an invested father. "I brought up the children single-handedly," she said at a Lifeline event in New York City in 2016, Us Weekly reported. "Donald wasn't really interested in the children until he could talk business with them." She was the person in charge of any decision involving Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump, including education, child care, and allowances. 

Because of that, Ivana believes she is responsible for who they turned out to be. "I believe the credit for raising such great kids belongs to me. I was in charge of raising our children before our divorce, and I had sole custody of them after the split," she wrote in her 2017 memoir "Raising Trump." She admits Donald became much more involved after their kids entered adulthood. "When each one finished college, I said to my ex-husband, 'Here is the finished product. Now it's your turn,'" she penned.

Ivanka also acknowledged Donald wasn't the most hands-on parent. "He was not really the type of — he wasn't long on diaper changing and things like that," she told CNN's Gloria Borger in 2016. But she doesn't hold it against him because he always let them know they were his priority. He wasn't present because he was trying to provide for them. "He was working very hard," she said.

Ivana credited herself for Donald Trump's social media use

Donald Trump revolutionized the way political figures use social media to address their constituents or voters directly. His unprecedented use of X has inspired a slew of articles and academic studies that look into how the platform changed the way politics is done in America. According to Ivana Trump, it all started with her. Despite having been divorced for decades, Donald still turned to his business-savvy ex-wife for professional advice, which she has claimed several times.

And on one of those occasions, she advised him to use social media to bypass the formal communication channels he had little control over. "I said, 'I think you should tweet. It's a new way, a new technology. And if you want to get your words across rightly, without telling The New York Times, which is going to twist every single word of yours, this is how you get your message out,'" she said on CBS' "Sunday Morning" in 2017.

In January 2018, shortly after the release of Michael Wolff's controversial book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," Ivana cited it to defend Donald's use of social media. She argued presidents have long been at the mercy of other people's version of events, and X protected her ex-husband from that. "When he tweets it's out of his mouth, and sometimes it might not be clear, but at least it is exactly what he thinks," Ivana said on Good Morning Britain, as noted by CNN.

Ivana Trump claimed she's why Donald didn't run sooner

When Donald Trump announced his presidential bid in June 2015, he concretized a longtime aspiration. When he released the book "Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again" in 2011, he intended it to be a preliminary statement about a 2012 presidential run, according to On The Issues. The same was true for his 2000 "The America We Deserve," which was meant to precede a presidential run that year.

But he had been brewing the idea to run for president since the late '80s, and Ivana Trump claims she's the reason he didn't. In true Ivana style, she didn't hold her tongue while explaining why she advised him against it. "He was thinking about it. But then ... there was the divorce, there was the scandal, and American women loved me and hated him," she told the New York Post in 2016, referring to Donald's affair with Marla Maples that ended her marriage.

Ivana was probably right. The early '90s weren't good years for Donald. His divorce and the bankruptcy of six of his businesses negatively affected his popularity. But he emerged more powerful than ever, which is arguably Donald's biggest gain from his marriage to Ivana. "The lesson Trump drew from it was that he could endure a grotesque personal debacle ... and come out the other side even more an object of interest than he was before," biographer Tim O'Brien told The Atlantic in 2022.

Ivana Trump described Donald's brutal romantic skills

Donald Trump didn't ask Ivana Trump to marry him — he threatened her. That's how she describes one of the most special moments of her life. "On New Year's Eve, he said to me over dinner, 'If you don't marry me, you'll ruin my life,'" she wrote in "Raising Trump." She thought it was a joke, as most people would. But he meant it. "I might've laughed, and then I saw the expression on his face. I realized, 'Oh my God. He's serious,'" she added.

After all, they barely knew each other. Donald proposed during a ski trip to Aspen in late 1976, just a few months after they met. But Ivana knew Donald enough to understand romantic gestures weren't his strong suit. She appreciated he had at least tried to impress her with his choice of accommodation. "I knew Donald had picked it for my benefit," she wrote. "I'm a realist, but I have a strong romantic streak and can see the moon and the stars."

Her soon-to-be fiancé, on the other hand, didn't even know where to look for them. "Donald wouldn't see the moon if it were sitting on his chest," she said. Despite their short courtship, Ivana agreed. The decision might sound atypical of a realist, but she disagrees. Ivana could see right away that Donald was ambitious. "My gut told me that Donald was trustworthy and that he'd be a good provider," she wrote