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'He Loved Our Country So Much': White House Hosts Memorial Service for Robert Trump

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Sometimes politics gives way to the personal at the White House. It has seen 18 weddings and at least 10 people are known to have died there, including two presidents and three first ladies.

It will serve Friday as a place of mourning for President Donald Trump and his family, with a private memorial service for the president’s younger brother, Robert, who died last week at 71.

The president has described Robert as “not just my brother. He was my best friend.”

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Abraham Lincoln and Calvin Coolidge both mourned the loss of a son while serving as president, Willie Lincoln in 1862 and Calvin Coolidge Jr. in 1924. The memorial services for both children began in the White House.

It’s completely within the president’s ability to honor his brother with a service at the White House, according to Anita McBride, who served in three presidential administrations, including as First Lady Laura Bush’s chief of staff.

“The White House is a very complex place. It’s an office, it’s a museum and it’s a home,” McBride said.

“We loan it to the president for the time he or she is living there. Coming from that perspective, we need to be understanding of some decisions that they make in a case like this.”

When Trump explained why he wanted to have a service for his brother at the White House, he said: “I think he’d be greatly honored. He loves our country. He loved our country so much. He was so proud of what we were doing and what we are doing for our country. So I think it would be appropriate.”

Robert Trump, a businessman, died Saturday after being hospitalized in New York. The president had visited his brother in the hospital on Friday.

A Boston University graduate, Robert Trump began his career on Wall Street working in corporate finance but later joined the family business, managing real estate holdings as a top executive in the Trump Organization.

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