Trump expected ’96 win, files say
PRAGUE — Almost 30 years ago, Donald Trump was confident he would win the U.S. presidential election — as an independent in 1996, according to recently uncovered files from Czechoslovakia’s Communist-era secret police.
Czechoslovakia was the home nation of Trump’s first wife, Ivana, a model, athlete and businesswoman who became the mother of his three oldest children: Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric.
A year before the 1989 collapse of communism in many parts of Europe, details about Ivana Trump’s 1988 visit back to her homeland were recorded in a classified police report. The Oct. 22, 1988, report said that Trump refused to run for president in 1988 — despite reported pressure to do so — because he felt, at 42, he was too young. But the secret report said he intended to run in the 1996 U.S. presidential race as an independent, when he would be 50.
“Even though it looks like a utopia, D. TRUMP is confident he will succeed,” the police report said, based on information from an unspecified source who talked to Ivana Trump’s father, Milos Zelnicek, about her visit.
It was unclear where the reported pressure was coming from.
But Trump didn’t create an exploratory committee until about a decade later, when he started a bid for the Reform Party nomination ahead of the 2000 presidential election. He dropped that effort about four months later.
Trump’s first wife was born Ivana Zelnickova in 1949 in the Czechoslovak city of Gottwaldov. She married Trump, her second husband, in 1977. As she kept traveling home across the Iron Curtain on a regular basis, Ivana became a tempting target for the powerful, deeply feared Czechoslovak secret police agency known as the StB.