President Donald Trump on Aug. 17 spoke about his brother, Robert, who died on Aug. 15, saying it won’t be an easy loss.
It’s “not [been] a great weekend,” Trump told Fox News. “He was a great guy. He was a tremendous guy.”
He was Trump’s “best friend,” and “losing him” is going to be quite hard, the president said.
The White House confirmed over the weekend that Robert Trump died at age 71. It isn’t clear what his cause of death was.
“He was always there and he wasn’t a jealous person,” Trump said. “He was a very smart guy. He would be there and he’d be behind me.”
“When I became president, he was one of the most loyal people. There was no jealousy,” Trump said. “You know, in a lot of families—I hate to say it—but there’s jealousy” and competition.
“He was my biggest fan,” he said, adding that people would tell him that Robert was “so thrilled” about what “was happening for the country” after Donald Trump was elected.
“He was so angry with China because of what happened where the plague came in, and they shouldn’t have allowed it to happen. They could have stopped it.”
Trump was referring to the pandemic caused by the CCP virus, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The president visited his brother at a Manhattan hospital on Aug. 14. Beforehand, he disclosed his brother was in “bad shape” but didn’t say what the cause was.
“It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight,” he said in a statement. “He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace.”
Robert Trump had previously retired to upstate New York where he was a noted philanthropist, serving as a trustee for the Angels of Light, a nonprofit organization that provides holiday gifts to children with life-threatening illnesses.
Before that, Robert Trump told the New York Post that he supported his brother’s campaign “1,000 percent” in 2016.
Fred Trump Jr., the president’s older brother and Mary Trump’s father, died in the early 1980s at the age of 43 after battling alcoholism for years. The early death had an impact on Trump, who said he never drinks because of it.
He has two sisters, Elizabeth Trump Grau, who is a retired executive from Chase Manhattan Bank, and Maryanne Trump Barry, who is a retired federal judge.