It's unusual for an incumbent president to have staffers jump ship and climb aboard their opponent's boat in an election year. But this is an unusual year and this isn't a normal election. Despite his absolute insistence on hiring loyalists, Trump seems to be losing the support of a surprising number of people who've worked in his administration. (Forbes has a running list here, if you're curious.)
Despite being a staffer most of us have never heard of, the latest Trump administration employee to endorse Biden might be the most influential yet. Olivia Troye served as the lead aide to Vice President Mike Pence for the White House coronavirus task force. Troye, which Pence chairs. She told the Washington Post that she organized and participated in every coronavirus task force meeting from February to July, and what she witnessed from President Trump in that position has prompted her to endorse Joe Biden.
Troye shared some of what she experienced in a video for Republican Voters Against Trump:
NEW AD: @OliviaTroye was @VP's lead staffer on COVID-19. She put her heart & soul into the job. After a while she… https://t.co/Erfsf9W6cY— Republican Voters Against Trump (@Republican Voters Against Trump) 1600373084.0
Troy also served as an adviser to Pence on counterterrorism and homeland security.
The Washington Post shared some of her allegations, which include Trump being unwilling to embrace mask-wearing despite advisers repeatedly begging him to, Trump showing "flat-out disregard for human life" and only being concerned about the economy and his reelection, and Trump being disengaged and distracted during task force meetings. In one meeting he spent 45 minutes complaining about Fox News hosts. "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," she said.
In addition, Troye confirmed what most of us could discern with our own eyes—that Trump's public pronouncements about things like hydroxychloroquine frequently blindsided other officials and were totally counter to the briefings he'd received. She also described an atmosphere of fear around disagreeing with the president. "Instead of being focused on the task at hand, people were constantly wondering what was going to drop next or when you're going to get reprimanded or cut out of a process for speaking out," she said.
The White House responded exactly as expected—by calling her a disgruntled ex-employee.
"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 of Troye, in response to a question from a reporter, according to CNN.
And White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said, "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."
Odd that Deere claims she generally watched meetings from the overflow staff room, yet there are images of her in the Oval Office with the Task Force. Also super odd how many "disgruntled ex-employees" who "play politics" and endorse the opposing party's candidate this administration is churning out—especially under a president who claimed he would hire only "the best people."
It's possible, of course, but Troye, a lifelong Republican, does not appear to be someone who seeks the spotlight. She even had positive things to say about Pence, telling the Post that he "was in an impossible situation" with Trump and that, privately, he did the "right things."
She just wanted to be able to look herself in the mirror. That's not a bad measure for choosing a candidate to run the country, especially when you've worked closely with one of them and witnessed first hand how badly they are botching the job.
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