A former aide to Vice President Mike Pence who served on the coronavirus task force said Thursday she’s voting for Democratic nominee Joe Biden because of President Donald Trump’s “flat out disregard for human life” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Olivia Troye, who served as the homeland security, counterterrorism and coronavirus adviser to Pence for two years, made the remarks to The Washington Post.
“The president’s rhetoric and his own attacks against people in his administration trying to do the work, as well as the promulgation of false narratives and incorrect information of the virus have made this ongoing response a failure,” she said.
Troye also condemned Trump in a video released by the group Republican Voters Against Trump, saying Trump once mused that the coronavirus was a good thing because he wouldn’t have to shake hands with as many people.
“I don’t like shaking hands with people,” Troye recalled the president saying. “I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people.”
Troye says in the video that she’s a lifelong Republican but would “come home at night and look myself in the mirror and say, ‘Are you really making a difference?’”
“I am voting for Joe Biden because I truly believe we are at a time of constitutional crisis. At this point it’s country over party,” she concluded.
Troye joins several other Trump administration officials to speak out against the president ahead of the election, including former national security adviser John Bolton and former defense secretary Jim Mattis.
The White House and Pence’s office both dismissed Troye as someone who was miffed over her ouster. She is “disgruntled that her detail was cut short because she was no longer capable of keeping up with her day-to-day duties,” Lt. General Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser, told the Post.
But Troye told the Post she was was deeply involved in the coronavirus task force and helped organize and attend “every single meeting” it held from February until July.
She also said that Trump would regularly blindside the task force and often tossed out statements that were contrary to what the members had discussed in meetings with him. That included his enthusiasm for hydroxychloroquine, his dismissal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and his opposition to protective masks.
Nearly 200,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S., more than in any other country. Schools, businesses and other gathering places across the country have remained closed for months ― a move Trump blasts as an infringement on people’s freedoms but one that local leaders say is necessary due to his administration’s slow response at the beginning of the outbreak and refusal to issue national guidelines.
The disease has had a disproportionate impact on the country’s Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities, who die from the virus at rates around five times higher than white Americans do, according to the CDC.
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