Reprinted with permission from Alternet
In this new ad @OliviaTroye reveals that during a COVID task force meeting, President Trump said "Maybe this COVID… https://t.co/CVkFtY3VUl— Republican Voters Against Trumpism (@Republican Voters Against Trumpism)1600373252.0
Olivia Troye, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, revealed Thursday that she will be voting against the administration and for former Vice President Joe Biden in the November election.
She joins a group of other Republicans and former Trump administration officials who have turned against the president. In a video for the group Republican Voters Against Trump, Troye delivered one of the most devastating takedowns of the president's response to the coronavirus pandemic yet — in part because she was involved with it from the beginning.
"I was homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to Vice President Pence, and served as Vice President Pence's lead staff member on the COVID-19 response," she said. "I've been on the COVID task force [led by Pence] from day one."
She explained why her experience working on the crisis response for the administration compelled her to speak out against the president.
"Toward the middle of February , we knew it wasn't a matter of if COVID would become a big pandemic here in the United States. It was a matter of when," she explained. "But the president didn't want to hear that because his biggest concern was that we were in an election year — and how was this going to affect what he considered to be his record of success? It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything's OK when we know that it's not. The truth is he doesn't care about anyone else but himself."
In one of the more remarkable behind-the-scenes moments yet to be revealed about the crisis, she recounted Trump saying: "Maybe this COVID thing is a good thing. I don't like shaking hand with people. I don't have to shake hands with these disgusting people."
She continued: "If the president had taken this virus seriously, or if he had actually made an effort to tell how serious it was, he would have slowed the virus spread. He would have saved lives."
At one point in the video, Troye became audibly and visibly emotional.
"At some points, I would come home at night," she said. "I would look myself in the mirror, and say: 'Are you really making a difference? Does it matter? Because no matter how hard you work and what you do, the president is going to do something that is detrimental to keeping Americans safe, which is why you signed up for this role.' It was awful. It was terrifying."
She closed by saying that she has always been a Republican, but in this election, she must put country over party and vote for Biden.
In a separate interview with the Washington Post, Troye revealed more damning details.
"The president's rhetoric and his own attacks against people in his administration trying to do the work, as well as the promulgation of false narratives and incorrect information of the virus have made this ongoing response a failure," she said. "Instead of being focused on the task at hand, people were constantly wondering what was going to drop next or when you're going to get reprimanded or cut out of a process for speaking out."
She also said: "He spent more time about who was going to call Fox and yell at them to set them straight than he did on the virus."
Trump, she said, was not usually focused on the virus but would often "blindside" the task force and administration officials with public comments, such as his support for hydroxychloroquine, his Twitter attack on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the agency's guidance on the reopening of schools, his skeptical comments about masks and his public musings about "herd immunity." Many of his comments were the opposite of what had been discussed in the White House Situation Room, where task force meetings were often held, and were at odds with scientific recommendations or the administration's own data, Troye said.
Predictably, the White House dismissed her as "disgruntled," as they have the countless other officials who have spoken out against Trump. But Troye, remarkably, still seemed protective of Pence, saying: "I worked very loyally for him to do everything I could for him. I don't want this to become a speaking-out-against-him thing."