One of the more novel developments in the 2020 election has been the outpouring of Republicans and former White House officials disavowing the president or announcing their intention to vote for his adversary — a dynamic that was almost unheard of prior to Trump’s abrasive time in office. One of the more effective examples of the trend came on Thursday, when Olivia Troye, Vice-President Mike Pence’s former top aide on the coronavirus task force, announced that she would vote for Joe Biden due to Trump’s negligent response to the coronavirus.
“It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything’s okay when we know that it’s not,” Troye said, in an ad released by the group Republican Voters Against Trump. In the spot, Pence’s former aide recalled a task-force meeting in which the president said that the coronavirus could be a good thing. “I don’t like shaking hands with people,” she recalled the germophobic leader saying. Thanks to pandemic, Trump said that now he doesn’t have to “shake hands with these disgusting people.” Troye, a lifelong Republican, added that Trump “actually doesn’t care about anyone else but himself” and that the disgusting people he was allegedly referring to were the same Americans “still going to his rallies today who have complete faith in who he is.”
Though the White House dismissed her account, claiming she was never in the room with the president, Troye added in an interview with the Washington Post that she helped organize “every single meeting” of the White House Coronavirus Task Force from February until July, and that she prepped and arranged briefings for Pence and wrote and edited his comments. As the Post notes, Troye “was often pictured sitting against the back wall of the Situation Room near Pence in photos posted to social media.” She claimed that Trump rarely attended the meetings, but in one, he spoke for 45 minutes about what he considered unfair treatment by certain Fox News contributors: “He spent more time about who was going to call Fox and yell at them to set them straight than he did on the virus.”
Other administration figures have declared Trump unfit to be president, including former national security adviser John Bolton and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, though Troye is the first ex-official to condemn Trump who has put a significant amount of effort into the coronavirus response.