Olivia Troye, a former adviser to Vice President Mike Pence who was his lead staffer on the coronavirus task force, is endorsing Democratic nominee Joe Biden for president. In an advertisement recorded for Republican Voters Against Trump, Troye slammed President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Troye, a lifelong Republican, said Mr. Trump's "biggest concern" was how the pandemic would affect the election.
"It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything's OK when we know that's not," Troye said. She added that Mr. Trump "actually doesn't care about anyone else but himself," and gave an example of a time when the president said during a task force meeting that "maybe this COVID thing is a good thing."
In an interview with The Washington Post, Troye said Mr. Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic showed his "flat-out disregard for human life" because "his main concern was the economy and the election."
In the ad, she said that while in a task force meeting, "the president said, 'Maybe this COVID thing is a good thing. I don't like shaking hands with people. I don't have to shake hands with these disgusting people.' Those disgusting people are the same people that he claims to care about, these are the people still going to his rallies today who have complete faith in who he is. If the president had taken this virus seriously, or if he had actually made an effort to tell how serious it was, he would have slowed the virus spread, he would have saved lives."
She said in the ad that she found working at the White House "awful" and "terrifying."
"No matter how hard you work and what you do, the president is going to do something detrimental to keeping Americans safe, which is why you signed up for this role," Troye said.
"I am voting for Joe Biden because I truly believe that we are at a time of constitutional crisis. At this point, it's country over party," Troye said.
The White House immediately pushed back against Troye's claims. In a statement, White House spokesperson Judd Deere called Troye "disgruntled" and said she "was never in private meetings with the president and her assertions have no basis in reality and are flat out inaccurate." Keith Kellogg, Pence's national security adviser, said Troye was "disgruntled that her detail was cut short because she was no longer capable of keeping up with her day-to-day duties."
"Ms. Troye directly reported to me, and never once during her detail did she every express any concern regarding the administration's response to the coronavirus to anyone in her chain of command," Kellogg said.
Pence also called Troye "disgruntled," telling reporters that she was "one more disgruntled employee who's left the White House and decided to play politics."
However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious diseases expert and a prominent member of the task force, said in an interview with MSNBC on Thursday that Troye was a "good person" and "important to the team."
Mr. Trump has admitted to downplaying the virus, which has claimed the lives of nearly 200,000 Americans. The presidentthat the death toll wouldn't be so bad if states governed by Democrats —"blue states" — were subtracted from the equation.
The president also repeatedly contradicted congressional testimony from Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield Wednesday, insisting he thought Redfield "made a mistake" when he told Congress on Wednesday a vaccine wouldn't be widely available until the second or third quarter of next year.
Biden has frequently criticized Mr. Trump's response to the pandemic, and said that he would impose aif elected.