Melania herself wrote in X: “Amalija Knauss was a strong woman who always carried herself with grace, warmth and dignity. She was completely devoted to her husband, daughters, grandson and son-in-law. We will miss her immeasurably and will continue to respect and love her legacy.”
Donald Trump said at a New Year's Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago estate that his mother-in-law was “very ill” and that his wife was with him at a hospital in Miami.
“It's a tough one, a very tough one,” he said of the situation.
During Trump's presidency, the first lady's mother lived in New York with her father, Victor Naus, and made occasional appearances at the White House. Amalija Naves attended the 2018 ceremony where the first lady launched her “BEST” public awareness campaign to help children.
“It was a very sad night for the entire Trump family!!!” Trump wrote on his social media site, Truth Social. “Melania's big and beautiful mom, Amalija, has gone to a beautiful place in heaven. She was an incredible woman and will be missed beyond words!
Melania Trump sponsored her parents' immigration to the United States, and they were sworn in as citizens in a New York City court in 2018 while Trump was president. Slovenian immigrants, a former car dealer and a textile factory worker, were living in the United States as permanent residents.
Their lawyer said at the time that they had applied for citizenship on their own and had not received any special offer.
The Knavses raised Melanija, born Melanija, in the rural industrial town of Sevnica when Slovenia was under communist rule. Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia until independence in 1991.
She attended high school in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and changed her name to Melania Gnas when she began modeling.
She moved to New York in 1996 and met Trump two years later. They got married in 2005.