| USA TODAY
President Trump contradicts CDC director about face masks and vaccines
CDC Director Robert Redfield testified at a Senate panel on coronavirus and gave his opinion on face masks, but then President Trump contradicted him.
WASHINGTON — A former adviser to Vice President Mike Pence who worked on the pandemic response has come out against President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus and said she will vote for Joe Biden.
Olivia Troye, who departed the White House in August after serving as homeland security and counter-terrorism adviser to the vice president, said in a new video released Thursday by Republican Voters Against Trump that the president’s main concern in his coronavirus response was his re-election.
“The truth is, he doesn’t actually care about anyone but himself,” Troye said.
Troye, who told The Washington Post she helped organize and attended all the coronavirus task force meetings between February and July, described dismay at Trump’s public comments about the coronavirus in the video and in an interview with the Post. He was recently revealed to have told journalist Bob Woodward he intentionally downplayed the severity of the virus to avoid causing panic.
“If the president had taken this virus seriously or if he had actually made an effort to tell how serious it was, he would’ve slowed the virus spread. He would’ve saved lives,” Troye said in the video.
Troye recalled comments Trump allegedly made during a task force meeting: “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.”
Trump would “blindside” the coronavirus task force with public statements that went against what health experts were saying about the virus, she told the Post, such as his promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment and his hesitancy around mask-wearing.
“The mask issue was a critical one. If we would have gotten ahead on that and stressed the importance of it, we could have slowed the spread significantly,” Troye told the outlet.
Troye said she is a lifetime Republican who voted for her party’s presidential candidate in every election until 2016, but will now support Biden because of Trump’s “flat out disregard for human life.” She told the Post she did not vote for Trump in 2016 but hoped he would become a strong leader.
“It was the opportunity and honor of a lifetime to be able to serve in the White House…” Troye said in her video. “But at some points I would come home at night, I would look myself in the mirror and say, ‘Are you really making a difference? Does it matter, because no matter how hard you work and what you do, the president is going to do something detrimental to keeping Americans safe.'”
Troye is the latest former administration official to come out against the president, joining the likes of former National Security Adviser John Bolton, former Defense Secretary James Mattis and former Department of Homeland Security official Miles Taylor.
Pence told reporters that he had not yet seen Troye’s full comments.
“But it reads to me like one more disgruntled employee that has decided to play politics during election year. My staff has indicated and she made no comments like that when she was serving under our team here at the White House,” he said.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the work we’ve done,” Pence added.
Lt. General Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser, said in a statement that Troye is “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. By not expressing her concerns, she demonstrated an incredible lack of moral courage,” Kellogg said.
Troye has also joined the anti-Trump group REPAIR, or Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform, launched by Taylor. Troye told the Post she encourages other former administration officials to voice their concerns about the president, and that she should have spoken out sooner.
Trump contradicts CDC director: Trump says Robert Redfield ‘confused’ about coronavirus vaccine, mask efficacy. Redfield responded.
Sarah Longwell, strategic director of Republican Voters Against Trump, said in a statement that “it’s not hard to see why” so many former staffers of Trump are supporting his opponent.
“Even people who believed in the president have been shocked and horrified by who he is as a politician, a leader, and a person,” Longwell said.