Former President Trump led all fellow 2024 Republican presidential candidates in the Iowa Caucus on Monday evening and got visibly emotional during his victory speech.
After winning the contest, he began recognizing members of his family and mentioned Amalija Knavs, Melania Trump’s mother who passed away last week.
“I think most importantly, I want to thank my incredible wife, first lady, I’ll say former and maybe future, but more important than Melania, I want to thank her incredible, beautiful mother who passed away a few days ago,” Trump said, with a visible shift in his countenance.
He added, “And she’s up there, way up there. She’s looking down and she’s so proud of us. And I just want to say to Amalia, you are special, one of the most special people I’ve ever known. And that was a tough period of time for the family. But she’s amazing. She was amazing. So I just want to thank what she’s done for our family and her husband.”
Knavs passed away on Jan. 9, 2024. She was 78.
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Former President Trump speaks at his caucus night event at the Iowa Events Center on Jan. 15, 2024 in Des Moines, Iowa. Iowans voted today in the state’s caucuses for the first contest in the 2024 Republican presidential nominating process. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Knavs is survived by her husband, Victor, who the former president also briefly mentioned.
“They’re great people, great, great parents to all of us, really great parents.”
Trump also shared the impact his mother-in-law had on his youngest son, Barron. “Boy, did she take care of Barron. That’s how he got so tall. He only ate her food.”
Former President Trump told Americans on Monday “it is time for our country to come together” after he won the Iowa caucuses, cementing his status as the likely Republican challenger to take on President Biden in November’s election. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Early in his remarks, Trump recognized the other 2024 Republican hopefuls, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy — who suspended his campaign after placing fourth in the contest.
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He then thanked his children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump, as well as his campaign officials for the decisive victory.
“I want to thank my family. Generally, they’ve worked so hard and they’ve taken so much abuse for being good people. I mean, good people. But Eric and Don, it really did. These two have been working so hard and they you know, they have another job also. So they have to do it all,” he said.
The former president, who has a reputation for often being divisive, struck a rare reconciliatory tone throughout his remarks.
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“I want to thank everybody. This has been some period of time. And most importantly, we want to thank the great people of Iowa. Thank you. We love you all. What a turnout. What a crowd. And I really think this is time now for everybody, our country, to come together. We want to come together, whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat or liberal or conservative,” Trump said.
Former President Trump cruised to victory in the Iowa caucus, warding off a late challenge from rivals Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
He continued, “If it would be so nice if we could come together and straighten out the world and straighten out the problems and straighten out all of the death and destruction that we’re witnessing, that’s practically never been like this. It’s just so important. And I want to make that a very big part of our message. We’re going to come together. It’s going to happen soon too.”
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The next primary contest between Trump, DeSantis, Haley and the other remaining Republican contenders will be in New Hampshire on Jan 23.
According to a poll earlier this month, Trump holds a lead in the Granite State with 39%, with Haley in second at 32%. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has since dropped from the race, had 12%. Ramaswamy had 8% in the poll while DeSantis was fifth with 5%.
Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.