ST. LOUIS, Missouri — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump paid his respects on Saturday at the funeral of conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, 92, who passed away this week.
“We are here today to honor the life and legacy of a truly great American patriot,” Trump told attendees of Schlafly’s funeral mass on Saturday afternoon. “A movement has lost its hero.”
Prior to delivering his remarks, Trump met privately with the Archbishop in the adjoining chapel where Schlafly was married in 1949. He then met with the Schlafly family to express his condolences.
Trump was joined by his wife Melania, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway,deputy campaign manager David Bossie, and campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon.
Trump was introduced by Schlafly’s son, Andy Schlafly, who told attendees that his mother is “grinning from ear-to-ear from heaven” at the “honor” of having Donald Trump speak at her funeral.
“My mother enjoyed immensely watching his rise to the top, to the pinnacle [of the Republican presidential primary],” Schlafly’s son said. “She saw in him the embodiment of her classic work that she wrote in 1964, A Choice Not An Echo. As she was telling me last year, this person [i.e. Trump] is the choice, not an echo.
“My mother is thrilled and delighted that this distinguished guest would grace her by speaking at her funeral.” Schlafly added. “She is grinning from ear-to-ear with what we are about to see.”
Schlafly’s son noted that when the campaign reached out to his family to discuss attending her funeral, “the campaign was very careful. They said they wanted to make sure they weren’t disruptive. And I thought to myself politics were never disruptive to Phyllis Schlafly [Schlafly’s son and the crowd laugh]… Thank you so much, Mr. Trump, for taking the time to come and speak at our mother’s funeral.”
Trump was welcomed by the mass attendees with a standing ovation.
The Republican nominee began by offering his “deepest and heartfelt condolences to her six wonderful children whom she loved so much… her sixteen grandchildren, and her three great grandchildren.”
“You have lost a mother, an amazing woman. And our county has lost a true patriot,” Trump said. “Phyllis was a strong, proud, and fierce warrior. That’s what she was. She was a warrior. And she was a warrior for the country, which she loved so much… To borrow a phrase from a great poet, Phyllis was that strength which in all days moved heaven and earth.”
“This incredible woman has been active in American politics for one quarter of American history– one quarter of American history and at the top,” Trump added. “She was the ultimate happy warrior. Always smiling. But, boy, could she be tough [chuckles from the audience]. We all know that. And in all of her battles, she never strayed from one guiding principle: she was for America, and it was always, always America first. People have forgotten that nowadays. For Phyllis, it was America first.”
“Even at the age of 92, this beloved woman had more strength, and fire, and heart, than 50 strong politicians all put together,” Trump said, adding:
She never wavered, never apologized, and never backed down in taking on the kingmakers. She never stopped fighting for the fundamental idea that the American people ought to have their needs come before anything or anyone else. She loved our country, she loved her family and she loved her God. Her legacy will live on every time some underdog, outmatched and outgunned, defies the odds, and delivers a win for the people. America has always been about the underdog, and always been about defying the odds. The idea that so-called “little people” or the “little-person” that she loved so much could beat the system– often times the rigged system… that the American grassroots is more powerful than all the world’s special interests put together– that’s the way Phyllis felt. She’s always felt that way. That’s the romance of America. That’s the story of the mother and the patriot that we honor here today.
Trump concluded by telling attendees that “Phyllis, who is rejoined with her late husband Fred, is looking down on us right now and I’m sure she’s telling us to keep up the fight, no doubt. Phyllis we love you, we miss you and we will never ever let you down. God bless you, Phyllis. God bless her family. and God bless everyone. Thank you very much.”
When Trump had finished his remarks, attendees, once again, rose to give him — and her — a standing ovation.
The funeral mass concluded with attendees being led in singing “America the Beautiful.”
Ed Martin, President of Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, told Breitbart that he was honored to have the opportunity to “thank” Trump for helping to uphold Schlafly’s legacy and for his role in crafting a “great” Republican Party platform.
“In March when Phyllis and Mr. Trump met before she endorsed him, Phyllis handed him her copy of the 2012 Republican platform and asked him to help her keep it strong. Today, I handed him Phyllis’ copy of the 2016 platform and said ‘Thank you’ because it is a great platform that Mr. Trump and his staff at Cleveland made even stronger.”
Martin also gave Trump a copy of Schlafly’s final book, The Conservative Case For Trump. Schlafly died on the eve of the book’s release. Many have observed that helping Trump win the Republican nomination was Schlafly’s last great battle. As Trump said on Friday during his remarks at the Value Voters Summit:
Phyllis endorsed me a long time ago when it wasn’t necessarily something that was so easy to do. And she was incredible. She was so brave… And I will never forget that. [Her endorsement] had a huge impact. She was a great, great powerful woman with a tremendous heart.
The funeral mass was held at Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Mass attendees included David Limbaugh, Jim Hoft, Michele Bachmann, Morton Blackwell, and Congressman Steve King.