Olivia Troye, Ex-Pence Hand, Backs Biden Over Trump's Covid Response - Rolling Stone
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Former Pence Deputy Backs Biden: ‘We Are at a Time of Constitutional Crisis’

Warning that Trump lied about the pandemic and “doesn’t actually care about anyone but himself,” Olivia Troye encourages Republicans to choose “country over party”

A former high-ranking deputy to Vice President Mike Pence is pledging to vote for Joe Biden and has broken with President Trump, saying the president “doesn’t actually care about anyone but himself.”

Olivia Troye was a lifelong Republican who served as the top-ranking Pence staffer on the administration’s Covid-19 response, but she says what she saw from Trump made supporting him impossible. “I truly believe we are at a time of constitutional crisis,” she says in a video released Thursday by a group of anti-Trump Republicans. “At this point, it’s country over party.”

Troye served as the Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor in the office of the Vice President, watching Trump up close as the administration grappled with the impending coronavirus pandemic. “If the president had taken this virus seriously, or if he had actually made the effort to tell how serious it was,” Troye says, “he would have slowed the virus spread. He would have saved lives.”

Trump’s chief objective, Troye recalls, was not protecting the health and safety of the American people. “His biggest concern was that we in were an election year. And, how is this going to affect what he considered to be his record of success?” Troye insists the administration understood by mid-February that it was no longer a question of if, but when, the pandemic would hit the United States. “It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything’s okay,” Troye says, “when we knew that it’s not.”

Troye is the latest high-ranking former Trump security official to speak out against the president, following earlier video testimonials by Homeland Security veterans Elizabeth Neumann and Miles Taylor published by Republican Voters Against Trump, founded by the neoconservative Bill Kristol. Troye relates Trump’s me-first view of the world, relating how the president had told a meeting of top deputies, that coronavirus could have an upside in keeping him away from the people who support him: “Maybe this Covid thing is a good thing. I don’t like shaking hands of people,” Troye relates that Trump said. “I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people.”

Troye says she reached a breaking point when she would go home and look herself in the mirror and understand that, despite her best efforts, “the president is going to do something that is detrimental to keeping Americans safe, which is why you signed up for this role. It was awful. It is. It was terrifying.”

Read the transcript of Troye’s remarks, below:

I’m Olivia Troye. I was Homeland Security and Counterterrorism adviser to Vice President Pence, and served as Vice President Pence’s lead staff member on the Covid-19 response. You know, I’d been on the Covid Task Force from day one. I mean, the virus was very unpredictable at the beginning. There were a lot of unknowns.

But towards the middle of February, we knew it wasn’t a matter of if Covid would become a big pandemic here in the United States. It was a matter of when. But the president didn’t want to hear that, because his biggest concern was that we in were an election year. And, how is this going to affect what he considered to be his record of success? It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything’s okay, when we knew that it’s not.

The truth is he doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself. He made a statement once. It was very striking. I never forgot it, because it pretty much defined who he was. When we were on a task force meeting, the president said, “Maybe this covid thing is a good thing. I don’t like shaking hands of 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 the effort to tell how serious it was, he would have slowed the virus spread. He would have saved lives.

It was the opportunity and honor of a lifetime to be able to serve in the White House.

I put my heart and soul into this role every single day.

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 that is detrimental to keeping Americans safe, which is why you signed up for this role. It was awful. It is. It was terrifying.  

I have been a Republican for my entire life. I am a McCain Republican. I am a Bush Republican and I am voting for Joe Biden because I truly believe we are at a time of constitutional crisis. At this point, it’s country over party.

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