Trump said Covid-19 is 'good' as he'd avoid handshakes with 'disgusting people', claims ex-Pence aide Olivia Troye
In response to this, POTUS said he did not know who Olivia Troye was while Mike Pence dismissed her as a disgruntled employee 'playing politics' as she backed Biden
In the era of President Donald Trump, there is no end to revelations of secrets. The president has recently been exposed by a series of books focusing on his administrative and personal secrets and his team has been left defending him since the big election is less than two months away. Now, the White House has distanced itself from a former homeland security aide to Vice President Mike Pence for revealing that Trump felt Covid-19 might be good because it would allow him to not shake hands with “disgusting people”.
Olivia Troye, who was also Pence’s lead staffer on the White House coronavirus task force that is led by the vice president, came up with a brief video on September 17 slamming Trump and also endorsed his presidential rival Joe Biden. Troye is the latest ex-staffer of the Trump administration to speak up against him and she urged voters not to allow him to get a second term. The virtual Democratic National Convention held last month also saw a number of prominent Republican faces appearing to convey their anti-Trump stand.
'Trump only cares about himself and re-election'
In her video, Troye accused Trump of failing to protect the people of America because he only "cares about himself" and getting re-elected. The president has faced massive backlash over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has affected more than six million people in the US and killed nearly 200,000. A recent book by veteran journalist Bob Woodward even revealed that the commander-in-chief downplayed the virus despite knowing its threat because he did not want people to panic.
Olivia Troye, Pence's former lead staffer on COVID task force (resigned two months ago), reports Trump's biggest concern about COVID was re-election and he said it's good COVID happened because he won't "have to shake hands with these disgusting people." pic.twitter.com/ALtT7xgaNW— Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) September 17, 2020
Troye, who left the White House last month and is now working with the National Insurance Crime Bureau as the vice president of strategy, policy and plans, said, "Towards the middle of February, we knew it wasn't a matter of if Covid would become a big pandemic here, it was a matter of when." She added, "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?"
She even claimed that at one of the coronavirus task-force meetings, the mercurial president suggested "maybe this Covid thing is a good thing" and he gave the reasoning: "I don't like shaking hands with people. I don't have to shake hands with these disgusting people."
"Those disgusting people are the same people that he claims to care about. These are the people still going to his rallies today who have complete faith in who he is," Troye said, adding: "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."
White House attacks Troye by calling her 'disgruntled'
The White House was quick to dismiss Troye’s allegations and called her a disgruntled employee who didn’t raise any objections while serving in the White House. On Thursday, Trump himself spoke on the matter saying he did not know Troye but alleged that she was made to issue such a statement.
"(T)he people get a hold of her and say, 'Let's say some bad things about Donald Trump’,” the 74-year-old president said. "Every time somebody leaves government — 99% of the time I'm not going to know these people. And they leave on a basis of almost like it’s a personal thing with me," he added.
VP Pence also criticized his former aide and accused her of “playing politics” in an election year.
"I haven’t read her comments in any detail, but it reads to me like one more disgruntled employee who's left the White House and now has decided to play politics during an election year," Pence told the press at the White House. "I think my staff has indicated that she made no comments like that when she was serving on our team here at the White House coronavirus task force."
The former Indiana governor then went on to say that he "couldn’t be more proud of the work we've done all along the way and the leadership that President Trump has provided."
Meanwhile, Miles Taylor, another former Trump administration official who left the homeland security department in August last year and has endorsed Biden for presidency, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he personally saw Pence praising Troye.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere also called Troye “disgruntled”. He said: “Outside of generally watching the White House Coronavirus Taskforce from the overflow staff room, this disgruntled former detailee was never in private meetings with the President and her assertions have no basis in reality and are flat out inaccurate."
Lt General Keith Kellogg, who is the vice president’s national security adviser, also said that Troye was “disgruntled that her detail was cut short”.
“Ms Troye directly reported to me, and never once during her detail did she every express any concern regarding the Administration's response to the Coronavirus to anyone in her chain of command,” he added.
The video of Troye, who called herself a lifelong John McCain Republican, was released by Republican Voters Against Trump, a GOP group that wants to see Trump defeated in the November election. She has also joined a new anti-Trump platform formed by Republicans called the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform or REPAIR, which aims to “refocus the Republican Party's priorities, and repair the American republic”.