The evening kicked off in perhaps the Trumpiest way possible, with Trump sitting cross-legged in a gold chair for an interview with Fox Business, while the rest of us craned our necks to see beyond the very large and dour-looking security guards who surrounded the set.
After a few minutes, I abandoned the struggle to hear and turned to the open bar, where waiters whose names were stitched in cursive on their button-downs served wine and champagne. I met a young man named George, who described his line of work as “brand experience.” “I love Ivana,” he said, when I asked why he’d come to the Plaza. “She’s, like, the best thing about the world. She has an integrity of character.” Ivana was wearing a lace-and-sequin red dress and a burgundy necklace and earrings with her signature bangs and bouffant. George said that her decision to wear red with burgundy was “bold” and “so fun.”
Moments later, everyone’s internal news sirens blared: Ivana Trump had allowed her first mention of the president. “He’s a health nut,” she revealed. “He takes care of himself. He has a trainer.” (Trump’s diet is reported to be cheeseburgers, but with just half the bun. Those close to him, according to CNN, can’t discern a workout routine beyond weekend rounds of golf.)
Nourished by this quote, however dubious, attendees flocked to the red-carpet portion of the event, where photographers, after politely snapping shots of Trump and Mech together, asked for her to pose alone. They photographed her as though we were at, well, literally any event more newsworthy than this, shoving at each other for the best angle. “Oh, my God, you’d think we weren’t here just to talk about pasta,” a man next to me carrying a notepad muttered only, I believe, to himself.
Which, of course, we weren’t. The press conference itself offered the best opportunity to try to push Trump into talking about the White House. But she held herself on message in a way her former husband would do well to study. We learned that Ivana stays fit by taking the elevator up to the gym each morning in her Upper East Side townhouse. That mashed potatoes with sour cream are her favorite “cheat” and “comfort food.” That Ivana is promoting this diet—whose $749 “luxury kit” includes such items as dark-chocolate cookies and crunchy berry bars and fusilli pasta—because the world is steeped in an “obesity crisis,” but she herself has always been slim.
Even her introduction, in which the emcee touted Trump as a “very talented” “household name for the last five decades,” was awkwardly scrubbed of the president, the man whose marriage to her helped make her a household name. The emcee described her as a former top executive at some of the nation’s “most desired hotels,” and noted that Trump had birthed “three very successful public figures,” each of whom “are regularly on television.”