According to real estate sources as reported by the New York Post, President Donald Trump recently urged one of his major donors, 78-year-old real estate developer Stanley Chera, to “decamp to Deal, [New Jersey]…saying it would be ‘safer’ than New York City,” suggesting the President is privately sounding an alarm that he has failed to do for the general public. The report comes amid growing criticism of the Administration’s lackluster response to the coronavirus pandemic that has now ravaged the country.
According to the report, the White House has not refuted the claim, with a spokesperson saying “in a cryptic email” that “the president ‘connected with Stanley’ and that ‘all is resolved.’”
Chera, a major Trump supporter and donor, was recently hospitalized according to the Post. Between the president’s campaign and joint fundraising committee with the RNC, Chera’s contributions have approached $500,000 since 2015. As a whole, Chera’s family has contributed approximately $800,000 to the president’s campaign and joint-RNC fundraising committee combined since 2015.
Chera and his family have also been involved in real estate projects with the president and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Publicly, the president has on repeated occasions downplayed the threat from the coronavirus pandemic, going so far as to call it a “hoax” or compare it to the seasonal flu. Reports also indicate that the president ignored warnings about the virus that were presented to him weeks ago from the intelligence community.
Last night, in an interview with Sean Hannity, the president refuted pleas from state officials like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for the tens of thousands of ventilators needed to respond to the crisis.
“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” the president claimed. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.”
New York City, with its densely populated metropolitan area, has become the new epicenter for the nation’s COVID-19 outbreak.
Trump’s diverging approach on the coronavirus crisis between the majority of Americans and the well-connected is nothing new however. On Tuesday, the president, along with Vice-President Pence, held a call on the coronavirus’ economic impact with a cadre of Wall Street executives. Among them was Jeffrey Sprecher, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, whose wife, Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, came under recent scrutiny for dumping millions in stock before the market tanked, as well as Steve Schwarzman, a maxed-out Trump donor.
With the coronavirus epidemic worsening in the country by the day, worried Americans may be forced to question whether the president’s concern extends only to the ultra-wealthy and well-connected.