Ex-Pence Aide Rips Trump Over ‘Frightening’ COVID-19 Response

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September 22, 2020 1:17 p.m.
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Olivia Troye, a former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence who announced last week that she plans to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, recounted what she viewed as President Trump’s “frightening” COVID-19 response during an interview set to air on NBC Nightly News on Tuesday.

In a preview of her interview that aired during the “TODAY” show, Troye said that during her eight months serving on the White House coronavirus task force, the President was more concerned about his “personal agenda” than protecting Americans against the infectious disease.

“He was really focused on public image, messaging and it was really more about, you know, his personal agenda than really the agenda that the task force had at hand, which was how are we going to save and protect Americans,” Troye said.

Troye, who left the Trump administration last month after serving as Pence’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, went on to rip Trump for his “frightening” COVID-19 response when asked about the President’s remark in early this year that the novel coronavirus will someday “disappear.”

Troye reiterated her claim that Trump expressed that the COVID-19 pandemic might be a positive development because he no longer had to shake hands with his supporters, who she said he characterized as “disgusting.”

“I can’t imagine how any, honestly, normal human being would ever say that out loud in the middle of a pandemic,” Troye said.

Troye also criticized the President for hyping unfounded treatments for COVID-19, such as hydroxychloroquine, before claiming that Trump “undermined” the work of the White House coronavirus task force.

“I felt that I needed to tell the truth about what was happening and what we were dealing with internally, especially with the President who was undermining the work that was going on in the task force,” Troye said. “I just felt that it mattered more than ever.”

Although both Trump and Pence dismissed Troye’s account of her experience on the coronavirus task force, Troye said that she still respects the vice president but that he was put in an “impossible situation” regarding the President’s handling of COVID-19.

Watch Troye’s remarks below:

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
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