Former President Donald Trump is leading his supporters in their collective outpouring of support for former First Lady Melania Trump, whose mother passed away late Tuesday night.
Posting on Instagram, the 45th president shared a photo of himself standing alongside Amalija Knavs, who passed away at the age of 78 after a long, undisclosed health battle.
“This is a very sad night for the entire Trump family!!!” he wrote. “Melania’s great and beautiful mother, Amalija, has just gone to a beautiful place in the sky. She was an incredible woman, and will be missed far beyond words!”
In a statement on X, Melania Trump described her mother as a “strong woman” who was entirely devoted to her family.
“It is with deep sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved mother, Amalija. Amalija Knavs was a strong woman who always carried herself with grace, warmth, and dignity. She was entirely devoted to her husband, daughters, grandson, and son-in-law. We will miss her beyond measure and continue to honor and love her legacy,” Melania Trump’s full statement read.
Amalija and her husband Viktor, 81, made regular appearances at the White House during the Trump presidency and spent lots of time with Barron Trump, the only son of Melania and the former president. Both earned their citizenship in 2018, with Amalija hailing from Austria and Viktor from Slovenia. The couple met in 1966 while Viktor worked as a chauffeur for the mayor of Sevnica and Amalija was a pattern-maker at a children’s clothing factory. They wed a year later.
Her mother’s illness pulled Melania off the campaign trail for several days, a fact that President Trump shared with his supporters for the first time last week.
Melania, herself an immigrant who earned her citizenship while working as a model, has celebrated her family’s legal emigration to the U.S. and recently keynoted the citizenship ceremony for dozens of new Americans in New York. Speaking about the struggles her family endured, she related to similar hardships faced by those in the audience and challenged them to overcome those obstacles in pursuit of inner strength.
“It is my privilege to share America, this great nation, with you… Obstacles often stand in the way of our goals. We persevere because we understand that conquering them will provide great access to personal development, fulfillment, and even eventually, self-actualization,” said Melania.
Speaking about her upbringing in Slovenia, Melania said her parents instilled in her the work ethic to pursue a modeling career while following the rules and regulations that challenged her to confront legal citizenship in the U.S.
“My dream of becoming a citizen pushed me to meticulously gather every last piece of information required, ensuring that no detail was overlooked. While the challenges were numerous, the rewards were well worth the effort. I applaud you for every step you took, every obstacle you overcame, and every sacrifice you made,” she added.
Services for Amalija Knavs have yet to be announced.