President Donald Trump is receiving a lot of criticism for his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, a former administration official says the government’s response to the virus has driven her to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Olivia Troye, who served as a homeland security and coronavirus adviser to Vice President Mike Pence until August, told The Washington Post that she will vote for Biden because of what she witnessed during her time in the administration.
“The president’s rhetoric and his own attacks against people in his administration trying to do the work, as well as the promulgation of false narratives and incorrect information of the virus, have made this ongoing response a failure,” Troye said.
Troye described herself as a life-long Republican but said she did not support Trump in the 2016 presidential primary and did share she voted for in that year’s presidential election.
She also said she was in “every single meeting” the White House coronavirus task force held from February till July. She told the Post that Trump was not focused during meetings on the coronavirus and claimed his response is part of the reason the death toll is nearing 200,000.
Additionally, she claimed that officials “repeatedly begged” Trump to voice support for mask-wearing for weeks, “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.”
“It was detrimental that it became a politicized issue. It still lingers today,” she added.
Troye also claimed that health experts were afraid to share opinions about the virus that would go against the views of Trump because they were nervous about being “cut out.”
That assertion is contrary to public statements made by several members of the task force who said that officials were free to share their opinions.
She also raised concerns about any coronavirus vaccine produced before the election, “I would not tell anyone I care about to take a vaccine that launches prior to the election.”
“I would listen to the experts and the unity in pharma. And I would wait to make sure that this vaccine is safe and not a prop tied to an election,” she added.
While Troye says she will vote for Biden, she said she still has a favorable opinion of Pence, “I worked very loyally for him to do everything I could for him. I don’t want this to become a speaking-out-against-him thing.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere told the Post that Troye’s “assertions have no basis in reality and are flat out inaccurate.”
“The truth is President Trump always put the well-being of the American people first,” he added.
Lt. General Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser, also addressed her allegations, “Ms. Troye is a former detailee and a career Department of Homeland Security staff member, who 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 ever 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,” he added.