A former aide to Vice President Pence will vote for Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Memo: Warning signs flash for Trump on debates Senate Republicans signal openness to working with Biden National postal mail handlers union endorses Biden MORE in the November election because of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBarr criticizes DOJ in speech declaring all agency power ‘is invested in the attorney general’ Military leaders asked about using heat ray on protesters outside White House: report Powell warns failure to reach COVID-19 deal could ‘scar and damage’ economy MORE‘s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new ad from an anti-Trump group of Republicans.
Olivia Troye, who served as Pence’s Homeland Security adviser and an adviser to the White House coronavirus task force, said in an ad released Thursday from Republican Voters Against Trump that Trump failed to keep Americans safe.
“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,” Troye said in the ad.
After a while she couldn’t look herself in the mirror because no matter what she did, the President would undermine it and make Americans less safe.
Now she’s a GOP voter for Biden. pic.twitter.com/ZIJlRUzArG
— Republican Voters Against Trump (@RVAT2020) September 17, 2020
Troye claimed that the president said during one coronavirus task force meeting that the virus may be a “good thing” because he would no longer have to shake hands with “these disgusting people.”
In the ad, which opens with images of Troye aboard Air Force Two with Pence and sitting in on a meeting with public health officials, Troye describes herself as a “McCain Republican” and a “Bush Republican.”
She laments that she often asked if her efforts in the White House were worth it because Trump was “going to do something that is detrimental to keeping Americans safe.”
Troye left her White House job in July.
White House officials quickly pushed back on Troye’s criticisms, dismissing her as a disgruntled employee offering a distorted version of events.
“Outside of generally watching the White House Coronavirus Taskforce from the overflow staff room, this disgruntled former detailee was never in private meetings with the President and her assertions have no basis in reality and are flat out inaccurate,” Judd Deere, deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement.
Keith Kellogg, the vice president’s national security adviser, said in a statement that Troye reported directly to him “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.”
In her departure email sent to colleagues in July, which was obtained by The Hill, Troye praised the work of other coronavirus task force members, writing that she had “witnessed first hand how dedicated and committed all of you have been to doing the right thing.”
Troye is the latest ex-Trump administration official to come out in support of Biden in recent weeks, and she is joining a group called REPAIR (Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform), which consists of several former GOP lawmakers and administration officials.
Among them are Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official, and Josh Venable, who worked under Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to ‘forever chemicals’ Senate Democrats demand White House fire controversial head of public lands agency Poll: Majority of teachers worried that school districts will reopen too quickly MORE.
But Troye is the first former official who was directly involved in the response to the pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 people in the U.S. and infected millions of Americans.
The virus has become a defining campaign issue for Trump. Polls show majorities of Americans do not approve of his handling of the pandemic and do not trust the information he gives about the virus.
The president has argued that he is the best candidate to rebuild the economy, which cratered due to the pandemic, and has offered rosy predictions about the availability of a vaccine that have at times contradicted his own health officials.