“We’re looking at Friday. We may do just a small service right here at the White House for my brother. We’re looking at doing that. That would be, I think, a great honor to him. I think he’d be greatly honored. He loved our country, he loved our country so much, he was so proud,” Trump told reporters at the White House ahead of a trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“I think it would be appropriate, so we’ll have probably on Friday afternoon a small service in honor of my brother Robert,” he added.
“It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight. 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,” the President said in a statement he personally dictated, according to a source familiar.
The President called his brother’s hospital room late on Saturday as it seemed his death was near, two people familiar with the matter told CNN. It’s not clear whether they connected or whether Robert Trump’s condition allowed him to speak by phone with the President.
Separately, several people who spoke to Trump on Saturday said he appeared saddened by the impending loss of his brother. Donald Trump made a last-minute decision to go to New York Friday to visit his brother in the hospital as he headed to New Jersey for the weekend.
Details of Robert Trump’s illness have not been released. He had been sick for several months, a person familiar with knowledge of the matter told CNN.
Earlier Monday, Trump reacted to his brother’s death during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
“Not a great weekend, it’s very hard,” Trump said, adding that he knew it was going to happen but it was still a “tough thing.”
“He was my friend, I guess they say best friend, and that’s true … And, you know, losing him, not easy,” he said.
Robert Trump had served as an executive vice president of the Trump Organization. Part of his duties including overseeing the organization’s Atlantic City casinos.
Robert Trump was born in 1948 and was one of four siblings to the President, including the late Fred Trump, Jr. He was a former top executive at the Trump Organization. He married Ann Marie Pallan earlier this year and was previously married to Blaine (Beard) Trump.
Robert Trump said in 2016 that he supported his brother’s presidential run and according to Town & Country, he hosted events and fundraisers in Millbrook, New York, for his brother and other Republicans.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Maegan Vazquez, Kristen Holmes and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.