As of Monday morning, coronavirus is said to have claimed over 22 thousand lives in the United States. According to The Washington Times, at least one of those victims was a friend of President Trump.
New York Magazine’s Yashar Ali first reported that New York retail mogul Stanley Chera died of complications from the coronavirus on Saturday. The Times cited an anonymous source within the White House who confirmed that Chera was a friend of the president.
According to The Real Deal website, Chera “parlayed his father’s Brooklyn department store business into one of New York real estate’s biggest retail empires, reaped huge rewards from the city’s emergence as a global shopping destination.”
The website also reported that Chera had “used his wealth and connections to play kingmaker” for his friend and fellow billionaire Donald Trump.
Trump had expressed concern
During a March 29 press briefing, Trump referenced a friend who had contracted the disease and saw his health decline. The individual in question is believed to have been Chera.
“I had a friend who went to a hospital the other day,” the president told White House reporters. “He’s a little older, and he’s heavy, but he’s tough person,” Trump said. “And he went to the hospital, and a day later, he’s in a coma.”
Trump stated that his friend was “not doing well” and went on to note “the speed and the viciousness” with which COVID-19 can strike, calling the situation “really horrible.”
Chera hailed from New York’s Syrian Jewish community and liked to avoid the media spotlight. However, that didn’t stop President Trump from praising him at a rally last year.
Chera was at Trump rally
“A friend of mine — he’s very shy, but he’s very rich,” the president announced to a large gathering of supporters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “He shouldn’t be shy,” Trump went on. “He’s one of the biggest builders and real estate people in the world, one of the biggest owners of property.
“I shouldn’t introduce him because you guys won’t like him, because he’s a big owner of property. But you own property, he just owns more of it than you do. And he’s a great guy and he’s been with me from the beginning — Stanley Chera.”
Trump marked the sad news with a tweet on Monday. “My deepest sympathies go out to Frieda Chera and the family of the late, great, Stanley Chera, one of Manhattan’s most brilliant real estate minds. Stanley was charitable, kind, and a wonderful friend. He will be truly missed!” the president wrote on Twitter.
Chera is survived by 3 sons: Isaac, Haim Chera, and Richard Chera, all of whom are active in the real estate industry. He was 77 years old.