Melania Trump’s father, Viktor Knavs, is described as a big personality who bears similarities to Donald Trump.
Melania is settling into her role as First Lady of the United States, according to a special on CNN.
Her parents have flown somewhat beneath the radar, although her father has a fairly colorful biography. On June 11, Viktor Knavs and his wife, Amalija, were photographed at Andrews Air Force base as Melania Trump and Barron Trump arrived to move into the White House.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Melania’s Father Was Once Chauffeur to the Town Mayor
According to a lengthy profile on Melania in GQ, her father met her mother when he was a chauffeur to the town mayor.
The year was 1966, and Melania’s mother, Amalija Ulčnik, “worked developing patterns at a factory that manufactured children’s clothing,” the profile reported.
Melania was born four years later in Sevnica, which GQ called a “small railroad town where she was born Melanija Knavs in 1970, is about an hour’s drive from the Slovenian capital.”
According to Univision, “Melania’s parents lived in a two-room apartment in Sevnica, a town of about 5,000 residents. They acquired the house through the housing plan of the now liquidated Jutranca textile company where they worked. After Melania was born they moved to a nearby building with an extra room.”
2. Viktor Was a Member of the Communist Party
The Independent Journal Review reports that Viktor “was a car parts salesman and card-carrying Communist Party member under the former Yugoslavian dictator Marshal Tito.”
The news site added, “Melania grew up on an apartment block that is reflective of Communist-style planned economy that can be found throughout central and eastern Europe.”
In that era, reported The New York Times, people sometimes joined the Communist Party out of “career ambitions” as much as ideology.
Univision reports that neighbors agree “that he joined more out of convenience than conviction. That ensured fewer problems with the party after his daughter was baptized in a Catholic church, like many of the family’s relatives.”
3. Melania’s Father Was a Car Salesman
According to GQ, Viktor Knavs was a “salesman at a state-owned car company.”
GQ described him as “spending every Saturday lovingly washing his antique Mercedes,” and says the family was comparatively well off.
He was also a driver for the head of a government-owned textile company, according to The Times. The Times reported that Donald Trump’s spokesperson says Viktor was never an “active” member of the Party.
The Times reported that his job as a car salesman was a traveling one.
Viktor Knavs and his wife, Amalija, were positioned directly behind the president and Melania during the inauguration.
4. Childhood Friends Have Described Melania’s Father as Reminding Them of Donald Trump
The New York Times reported that childhood friends of Melania’s in Slovenia say that her father reminds them of Donald Trump.
Her father was described as a “larger-than-life personality” by the Times. He would commonly be seen with a suit, tie and briefcase, according to The Times.
The Daily Caller reports that Melania herself has drawn the comparison, saying, “They’re both hardworking. They’re both very smart and very capable. They grew up in totally different environments, but they have the same values, they have the same tradition. I myself am similar to my husband. Do you understand what I mean? So is my dad; he is a family man, he has tradition, he was hardworking. So is my husband.”
5. Viktor Allegedly Had a Son With Another Woman
According to CBS News, Melania has a half brother named Denis Cigelnjak, the product of her father’s relationship with another woman.
She at first denied this, but then told the news media she had known about it for years when reporters produced documents, CBS News reported.
The Daily Caller reported that “Viktor Knavs had a child with a woman he dated before he met Melania’s mother. Though he argued that the child wasn’t his, a court-ordered blood test proved he was. Melania and her half-brother, Denis Cigelnjak, have never met.”
Melania also has a full sister, Ines Knauss, with whom she is reportedly close. Learn more about Melania’s sister here: