Former aide to Pence slams Trump’s COVID-19 response, says to vote for Biden

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the daily coronavirus response briefing as National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and Attorney General William Barr stand by at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

A former aide to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday slammed President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and said she will vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the November election.

Olivia Troye, Pence’s former lead staff member on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which is headed by the vice president, made her case against the president in a video ad for anti-Trump group “Republican Voters Against Trump.”

“Towards 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,” Troye said in the ad. “But the president didn’t want to hear that because his biggest concern was that we were in an election year and how is this going to affect what he considers to be his record of success?”

“It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything is OK when we know that it’s not,” said Troye, also homeland security and counterterrorism advisor to Pence. “The truth is he doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself.”

“At some point I would come home at night. 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 the Americans safe,” she said, adding although she has been a Republican her entire life, she will vote for Biden because she truly believes Americans are “at a time of constitutional crisis.”

In response, Pence told reporters at the White House on Thursday that although he had not read the comments, “it reads to me like one more disgruntled employee who’s left the White House decided to play politics during an election year,” adding, “I couldn’t be more proud of the work we’ve done.”

“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,” White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement responding to Troye’s remarks.

“The truth is President Trump always put the well-being of the American people first as evidenced by his shutdown of the country, which saved millions of lives, activating the greatest mobilization of the private sector since World War II to deliver critical supplies, the development of a never-before-seen testing system that is the envy of the world, and an unending focus on the rapid research and approval of scientifically proven therapeutics and an eventual vaccine,” Deere said.

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