UNITED STATES NEWS

Melania Trump remembers her mother as ‘a ray of light in the darkest days’

Jan 17, 2024, 10:12 PM | Updated: Jan 18, 2024, 2:10 pm

FILE - Amalija Knavs, mother of first lady Melania Trump, walks on the South Lawn at the White Hous...

FILE - Amalija Knavs, mother of first lady Melania Trump, walks on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, June 18, 2017. Funeral services for former first lady Melania Trump's mother, Amalija Knavs, are scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024 at a church not far from the family's Mar-a-Lago estate. Private services for Knavs, 78, will be at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, the congregation former President Donald Trump sometimes attends and where he and his wife were married in 2005. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Former First Lady Melania Trump on Thursday remembered her mother as “a ray of light in the darkest of days” during a funeral service at a church not far from the family’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

The former first lady said she always found peace in the presence of her mother, Amalija Knavs, 78, and that her mother was always there to listen.

“In her presence, the world seemed to shimmer with radiance and joy,” Melania Trump said during a eulogy as her husband, former President Donald Trump, sat nearby. “Our bond was unbreakable.”

The former first lady said her mother celebrated her family’s triumphs and supported them during difficult times. She said she would remember the laughter that accompanied travels with her mother, father and sister and “conversations that flowed effortlessly with grace and charm.”

“Rest in peace my beloved mother,” Melania Trump said before stepping down from the pulpit.

She then stood in front of her mother’s casket, touched her fingers to her lips and placed them on the casket.

Among the guests who arrived before the start of the private service for Knavs at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea were two of Donald Trump’s children from previous marriages, Tiffany Trump and Ivanka Trump; Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner; and Republican U.S. Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

The church is where Trump and his wife were married in 2005. Knavs died Jan. 9 in Miami after an undisclosed illness.

At midmorning, a hearse pulled up in front of the church followed by an SUV carrying the former president and first lady and two other vehicles with their Secret Service detail. Wearing a black dress and sunglasses, Melania Trump and her father, Viktor Knavs, led a procession up to the church, followed by the former president and their son, Barron.

They then waited on the steps of the church as the coffin was lifted from the hearse and taken into the church.

After the service, a priest waved an urn of incense and a man held up a cross as the coffin was carried out of the church, followed by Melania Trump and her father, and then Donald Trump and their son, Barron.

After the coffin was placed in the hearse, the former president and first lady exchanged pleasantries with the priest. Donald Trump led his wife to an SUV with her father, and then he got into a separate vehicle.

During the Trump presidency, the first lady’s mother lived in New York along with her father and occasionally appeared at the White House. Amalija Knavs was at a 2018 ceremony where the first lady debuted her “Be Best” public awareness campaign to help children.

The Knavses raised Melania, born Melanija, and her older sister, Ines, in the rural industrial town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under Communist rule as part of Yugoslavia. Amalija Knavs was a textile worker and homemaker, while her husband worked as chauffeur before becoming a car dealer.

The former first lady, 53, attended high school in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modeling. She settled in New York in 1996 and met Trump in 1998.

She sponsored her parents’ immigration to the United States, and they became citizens at a New York City courthouse in 2018, while Trump was president.

Their lawyer said at the time that they applied for citizenship on their own and didn’t get any special treatment.

Donald Trump spent Tuesday and Wednesday attending a defamation trial in New York to determine how much he owes former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll for publicly disparaging her after she accused him of rape. Trump’s lawyers had asked the judge to delay the trial for a day to allow him to attend the funeral, but that request was denied. Trump chose to skip Thursday’s court session rather than miss the funeral or move it to Friday when the trial isn’t scheduled to be in session.

___

Associated Press writer Mike Schneider in Orlando, Florida, contributed to this report.

United States News

Law enforcement officials and medical personnel work the scene of an officer involved shooting near...

Associated Press

Missouri police charge man with 2 counts first-degree murder after officer, court employee shot

A man was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree murder for the killing of a court employee who tried to serve an eviction notice at a home in Independence, Missouri, and an officer who responded, prosecutors said. Larry Acree was also charged with first-degree assault in the wounding of the other officer who responded, […]

49 minutes ago

Associated Press

What to know about the latest court rulings, data and legislation on abortion in the US

A judge in Montana rejected abortion restrictions, the attorney general in Missouri is accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally transporting minors for abortions and new data shows how the way abortions they’re provided continues to shift in a nation where some states have bans and others are protecting access. More than a year and a half […]

1 hour ago

FILE - National Urban League president and CEO Marc Morial speaks at the National Urban League Annu...

Associated Press

Black Americans’ significant economic and civil rights progress threatened, report says

WASHINGTON (AP) — Black Americans have endured considerable injustices and barriers to prosperity and equality throughout U.S. history. But their social, economic and political advances in the 60 years since the enactment of major civil rights legislation have been unsatisfactory, according to a new annual study on racial progress. The “ State of Black America […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

With trash bins now required in NYC, only the rats are sorry to see the garbage piles go

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s tradition of piling garbage bags on the sidewalk for pickup is going the way of the dinosaur. As of Friday, all 200,000 businesses in the Big Apple are required to put out their bags of trash in garbage bins, as communities across the county and world have long […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities search for father and 2 young children in New Hampshire after mother found dead

MEREDITH, N.H. (AP) — Authorities were searching Friday for a father and his two young children after the children’s mother was found dead in a New Hampshire apartment. Authorities issed an Amber Alert just after 4 a.m. for the abduction of 4-year-old Elowyn Duren and 1-year-old Vaelyn Duren from the city of Berlin. Authorities said […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Gaza doctor says gunfire accounted for 80% of the wounds at his hospital from aid convoy bloodshed

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — The head of a Gaza City hospital that treated some of those wounded in the bloodshed surrounding an aid convoy said Friday that more than 80% had been struck by gunfire, suggesting there had been heavy shooting by Israeli troops. At least 115 Palestinians were killed and more than 750 […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Melania Trump remembers her mother as ‘a ray of light in the darkest days’