Trump pays tribute to brother and ‘best friend’ Robert

US president’s brother died in New York on Saturday night

Donald Trump embraces his brother Robert at an election night event in Manhattan, November 8th, 2016. Photograph: Damon Winter/The New York Times

Donald Trump embraces his brother Robert at an election night event in Manhattan, November 8th, 2016. Photograph: Damon Winter/The New York Times

 

US president Donald Trump paid tribute to his brother Robert, who died in a New York hospital on Saturday night.

In a statement issued by the White House, the president confirmed the 71-year-old had died.

“It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight,” read a statement issued by the White House. “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.”

No cause was given for his death, but he was admitted to hospital last week. The president, who spent the weekend at his New Jersey golf club, visited his brother in hospital on Friday afternoon before a scheduled campaign event with the New York police force, and again on Saturday.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden extended his condolences to his Republican rival. “Mr President, Jill and I are sad to learn of your younger brother Robert’s passing. I know the tremendous pain of losing a loved one – and I know how important family is in moments like these. I hope you know that our prayers are with you all.”

His running mate, Kamala Harris, also issued a statement. “Doug and I join the Biden family in sending our deepest condolences and prayers to the entire Trump family during this difficult time. Losing a loved one is never easy but know that we are thinking of you.”

Niece’s book

Robert Trump came to public prominence in recent months following the publication of a tell-all book by his niece Mary Trump. He sued his niece on behalf of the family to try to stop the book’s publication. He was the youngest of the five Trump children.

Meanwhile, as the president arrived back to Washington DC on Sunday evening, controversy continued over the funding of the United States Postal Service (USPS) amid an expected surge in mail-in voting in November’s presidential election.

As part of the ongoing coronavirus spending package negotiations, the postal service is seeking an emergency cash injection of $25 billion, a request that the White House has so far rejected.

Mr Trump defended the head of the post office, Louis De Joy, a major Republican donor whom he appointed in May, as some Democrats called on him to resign.

“He’s a fantastic man. He wants to make the post office great again,” Mr Trump said. Mr De Joy has introduced a series of changes, including cutting overtime and a reduction in the use of mail-sorting machines, moves he says will modernise the postal system. But US postal network has been beset with delays to delivery times in recent weeks and months.

Pandemic voting

Late last week the general counsel for the postal service wrote to every state and Washington DC warning the system may not be able to deal with requests for mail-in election ballots under the current timetable.

States are seeking to expand their postal voting provision ahead of November’s election, amid expectations that more people will vote by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Trump again attacked mail-in voting over the weekend. “They want to send in millions and millions of ballots,” he said. “You see what’s happening. They’re being lost, they’re being discarded. They’re finding them in piles. It’s going to be a catastrophe.”

Democrats on Capitol Hill have called a special hearing on the issue later this month, accusing the postal service of adopting “dangerous new policies that threaten to silence the voices of millions, just months before the election,” according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others.