WASHINGTON (JTA) — The friend whose case President Donald Trump cited as a point in his realization of the dimensions of the coronavirus crisis is a Jewish real estate mogul named Stanley Chera, Vanity Fair reported.
Chera is at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in a coma, the magazine reported.
“Boy, did that hit home. Stan is like one of his best friends,” Bill White, a Trump campaign donor, told Vanity Fair in a story posted Wednesday.
A day earlier, Trump in the daily White House briefing on fighting the pandemic described some of the factors that led him to realize the seriousness of the pandemic.
“When you send a friend to the hospital, and you call up to find out how is he doing — it happened to me, where he goes to the hospital, he says goodbye,” Trump said. “He’s sort of a tough guy. A little older, a little heavier than he’d like to be, frankly. And you call up the next day: ‘How’s he doing?’ And he’s in a coma? This is not the flu.”
Chera, 78, is part of the tight-knit Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn. In 2014, he was honored at the gala dinner of the American Friends of the Rabin Medical Center.
It was not the first time that Trump mentioned the friend. At the briefing Monday he said, “I have some friends that are unbelievably sick. We thought they were going in for a mild stay. And, in one case, he’s unconscious — in a coma. And you say, ‘How did that happen?’”