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.”
Ivana Trump said she speaks to her former husband about once every two weeks, and she has a “direct number” to the White House.
“I [don’t] really want to call him there, because Melania is there,” she said, referring to first lady Melania Trump. “And 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.”
In response to the interview, a spokesperson for Melania Trump told ABC News the first lady is “honored by her role.”
“Mrs. Trump has made the White House a home for Barron and the President,” the spokesperson said, referring to the couple’s son. “She loves living in Washington, D.C., and is honored by her role as First Lady of the United States. She plans to use her title and role to help children, not sell books. There is clearly no substance to this statement from an ex. Unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise. ”
Ivana Trump’s 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 would hate Washington’
Ivana Trump said she has no desire to change places with Melania Trump.
“I think for her to be in Washington must be terrible,” Ivana Trump said of the first lady. “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 declining when the president of the Czech Republic wanted her to be the U.S. ambassador.
When asked by Robach what President Trump said about the offer, Ivana Trump replied, “Well, Donald called me and he said, ‘If you want to take the position, I [will] give it to you.’ 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.”
2. ‘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, ‘OK,'” she recalled. “I was in charge.”
She continued, “I just told him where they’re going to go, and he said, ‘OK.’ 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 takes “full credit” for raising Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, she added.
“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-years-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.”
23. ‘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 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 former 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.”
4. ‘Opportunity to go and prove myself’
When asked whether 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 whether she thought he was joking about grabbing women, Ivana Trump added, “OK, 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. They 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 OK 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 and Ivana Trump named their only daughter Ivanka. Donald Trump would go onto have another daughter, named Tiffany, with Maples.
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.
Bonus: Ivana Trump’s children and former husband have not read her memoir
Ivana Trump said her three children have not yet read “Raising Trump,” though they each contributed 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.”
ABC News’ John Santucci and Jennifer Pereira contributed to this report.
Ivana Trump: I raised the kids — not Donald
During the presidential campaign, even people horrified at the thought of Donald Trump in the White House would stop his first wife, Ivana, on the street and say, “You did a good a job raising your kids.” “Yes I did,” Ivana Trump would respond — and then move on to avoid any discussion of politics.
Make no mistake about it — Donald Trump did not raise Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric. Ivana Trump did, as she makes clear in “Raising Trump,” her candid, charming and funny memoir, out this week from Gallery Books. “I got total custody of the kids when I divorced Donald,” Trump tells The Post.
“That was non-negotiable. But even if Donald and I had stayed together, I would have raised the kids. “Donald …