How Trump Reacted When His Close Friend Died Of COVID

( When an older, affluent New York real estate developer friend got sick and fought for his life in Dr. Deborah Birx’s new memoir, President Donald Trump saw how serious COVID-19 was.

As Birx writes in “Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, COVID-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It’s Too Late,” Trump faced his mortality when he learned that Crown Acquisitions founder Stanley Chera was dying at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York.

After examining mounting case counts, Trump said in March 2020 that he’s “been there.”

“What’s going on, It’s awful,” Trump said.

Birx says that President Trump called Chera a friend and openly feared COVID-19 and, like Chera, couldn’t rely on riches as a type of immunity.

Trump initially resisted implementing a COVID-19 containment approach. The resistance melted away when Birx explained the dire consequences of inaction.
Birx was trying to persuade Trump to extend the US shutdown by 30 days to avoid hospital overcrowding. The White House had already told the country it needed “15 days to slow the spread.”

Birx remarked in support of the recommendations that she was positive we’d have fifty, a hundred, and possibly a thousand Elmhurst Hospitals, and city after city would resemble New York.

The optics, she adds, stung Trump the most.

Trump asked if she meant body bags, cooled trucks, like Elmhurst? According to the book,

“Yes,” Birx stated,

Trump agreed to be cautious for another month after meeting with NIH head Dr. Anthony Fauci, Birx reports.

Chera died on April 11, 2020, at 77.

Birx wrote that what mattered was that the president, maybe a surprise to many, had agreed to the lockdown.

As part of the voluntary nationwide shutdown, the federal government encouraged individuals to avoid unnecessary travel and group gatherings. But he flipped on her soon after, she claims.

A few days into lockdown in early April 2020, Birx claims that Trump said, “we won’t shut down again.”

Trump’s decision to shut down the country was the last time Birx felt he listened to her or acknowledged her. She doesn’t know what changed Trump’s mind, but she suspects he’d already spoken with Dr. Scott Atlas.

Trump brought Atlas to the White House in August 2020, and Birx writes about their disagreements in her book. Atlas wanted the US to focus on older and vulnerable folks and less on younger people getting sick.

Atlas was previously a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, a conservative think organization. He wasn’t a disease expert, but he assured Birx that the President preferred his approach.

“I became a nonentity,” Birx writes of Trump. “He seemed to find nothing valuable in me.”

Atlas was right. The old and vulnerable should have been the main focus all along.