• Olivia Troye, a former Mike Pence aide on security and the pandemic, blasts president in video. 
  • Troye says she left the administration after Trump delayed pandemic response, prioritizing his public image and reelection chances
  • Trump officials have said the allegations are false, characterizing Troye as a former employee angry that her detail was cut short

Olivia Troye is the latest former Trump administration official to come out against him, claiming in a video that the president called his supporters “disgusting” and suggested the COVID-19 pandemic might be “a good thing” if it meant he “didn’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people.”

Troye was an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence on security, counterterrorism, and COVID-19 for two years. She made the video made in conjunction with the conservative group that opposes President Donald Trump, Republican Voters Against Trump.

She says she left because “at some points 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 Americans safe.’”

Troye characterized Trump’s pandemic response as willfully negligent, alleging that he cared more about his public image and reelection chances than addressing the virus as early and forcefully as possible.

“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 said. “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 considered his record of success?”

US President Donald Trump appreciates the spectacle of a large campaign rally, and during his 2020 re-election effort he is seeking to repeat the campaign magic that fueled his improbable victory in 2016
US President Donald Trump appreciates the spectacle of a large campaign rally, and during his 2020 re-election effort he is seeking to repeat the campaign magic that fueled his improbable victory in 2016 AFP / MANDEL NGAN

Troye is hardly the first ex-employee to publicly go against Trump. Among the many others:

  • Miles Taylor, former chief of staff for the Department of Homeland Security, who wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post attacking Trump. He told CNN Friday that Pence directly told him that "Olivia Troye is doing an incredible job as my homeland security advisor"
  • Elizabeth Neumann, former assistant secretary of counterterrorism at the DHS, who resigned after three years and went on NPR to say that Trump was "throwing fuel on the fire" of right-wing terrorism. The White House called her a "disgruntled employee" in a statement.
  • Former national security advisor John Bolton, who released a book alleging a series of damning accusations against Trump.

Taylor and Neumann have founded an organization to gather the many former staffers who want to work against Trump's reelection campaign, called Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform (REPAIR). They say they are talking with 20 to 40 former staffers.

No previous defector, however, has come out as strongly from within his pandemic response team. Trump’s administration has taken the stance that Troye is another disgruntled former employee, CNN reported.

“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 said, "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.”

Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Pence's national security adviser and Troye’s former boss, said that "Ms. Troye directly reported to me, and never once during her detail did she ever express any concern regarding the administration's response to the coronavirus to anyone in her chain of command.” He characterized her as “disgruntled that her detail was cut short."

Taylor contested that claim as well. "Keith Kellogg told me this year, 'Olivia Troye is doing an incredible job, I'm so glad that DHS referred her to us.' It's bogus, this is what they do when someone criticizes them."