Former top Pence aide Olivia Troye on Monday said she was furious at an effort by the Trump campaign to use Dr. Anthony Fauci as a “political pawn” in a new political ad.
“This is Trump hypocrisy 101 being displayed head on,” Troye told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes when asked about an ad that appeared to seize on Fauci’s praise of federal officials efforts back in March for political gain.
“I was the one that actually had to sometimes make the call … and say, ‘Dr. Fauci, you’re not going to be needed today,'" says ex-Covid Task Force official @OliviaTroye on the WH blocking Fauci. “I was disrespecting his time when he was already on his way to the White House." pic.twitter.com/ohqK3S7e4p
— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) October 13, 2020
She tore into the Trump administration for seeking to “publicly undermine Dr. Fauci repeatedly” and for a months-long effort to “discredit him.”
The comments come after the leading expert on infectious diseases objected to being used by the Trump campaign in a recent political ad where he appears to praise the efforts of federal officials who have been widely criticized for their failures in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ad paints President Trump as a forceful leader who took swift and strong action against the coronavirus, despite misleading efforts to minimize the severity of the virus in public.
Fauci said the GOP campaign ad that drew criticism on Monday had taken his words out of context and attributed comments to him without permission.
Troye, who was a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force before her departure from the Trump administration in Augus,t defended Fauci, saying she was “furious” when she saw the ad which quotes Fauci as saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more,” with regard to the Trump administration’s pandemic response.
“I personally saw them block him from being in White House press briefings,” Troye said — appearing to highlight Fauci’s marked absence from news conferences amid an effort to shut out voices that might cast a negative light on Trump’s leadership during the pandemic. She added that at times she was tasked with telling Fauci, who is also the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, that his expertise wouldn’t be needed.
“How dare you try to use him now as your political pawn,” Troye said in apparent reference to the President’s campaign effort to “flip the switch” and use Fauci’s statements to advance a political agenda that has historically sought to undermine the expert.
The infectious-disease expert separately told CNN in an interview on Monday that he believed the campaign to take down the ad, saying that it was misleading.
“I have never — either directly or indirectly — endorsed a political candidate,” he said.