Trump ex­pected ’96 win, files say

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - WORLD - By Karel Jan­icek Karel Jan­icek is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

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.

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