Sunday, 15 September 2019

LN: Trump's Czech ex-wife shunned dissidents

ČTK |
23 January 2017

Prague, Jan 21 (CTK) - The Czech-born former wife of new U.S. President Trump, Ivana Trump, expressly turned down a request from Karel Schwarzenberg, former director of the International Helsinki Human Rights Committee, to help the body that supported dissidents, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes Saturday.
"This happened at the close of the 1980s when I was desperately looking for money to efficiently help the Czech dissent," former Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, a failed presidential candidate in 2013, has told the paper.
"I knew that Ivana Trump was of Czech origin and she was also a friend of a cousin of mine," Schwarzenberg said.
"I asked her to arrange our meeting. When I was in New York, we had an appointment in a hotel that belonged to Donald Trump and I asked Ivana Trump for a contribution," he added.
"She answered: ,No way!' This basically ended our conversation," Schwarzenberg said.
The event had an interesting echo in the early 1990s.
"Two years later, former president Vaclav Havel [elected in 1989] paid his famous visit to the USA. He was accommodated in the same hotel. All of a sudden, Mrs Trump almost movingly fawned on him, looking after him," Schwarzenberg said.
"However, when she glimpsed me, she felt rather embarrassed," he added.
Schwarzenberg served as the head of Havel's Presidential Office in the 1990s.
Ivana Trump, born Zelnickova, comes from Zlin, south Moravia. She married Donald Trump in 1977. He was her second husband, while for him it was his first wedding.
They divorced in 1992.
Ivana Trump has been married four times, her last former husband being an Italian model.
Ivana Zelnickova, a Czechoslovak cross-country skiing champion, got to the West legally, thanks to her having married an Austrian man. She divorced him two years later.
Thanks to this, she never had any problems with the Czechoslovak Communist authorities and she could regularly visit her parents who stayed in Czechoslovakia, which was all but impossible for most emigres under the Communist regime.
Even after marrying Trump in April 1977, Ivana Trump did not join any activities of Czechoslovaks in the exile, LN writes.
Unlike other rich Czechs such as shoe mogul Tomas Bata, who sponsored the Svedectvi (Testimony) dissident paper published in Paris, she did not sponsor any exile activities, it adds.
After Trump was elected the U.S. president last November, President Milos Zeman suggested that she be the new U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic.
The U.S. ambassador to Prague, Andrew Schapiro, ended his term of office on Friday. Schapiro, 53, was sent to Prague by the outgoing Democrat President Barack Obama. They have known each other since their studies of law at Harvard University.
Schapiro previously supported Obama in the presidential campaign.
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