Donald Trump has struggled with minorities and swing-state voters but another demographic seems to be even tougher for him to win over: Former Trump Administration officials. There is a long list of alumni from the Trump White House who have left under a cloud and had bad – even shocking – things to say about Donald Trump. The most recent of these is Olivia Troye.
Olivia Troye was a member of Vice President Pence’s staff for two years. During that time, she worked as an advisor on homeland security, counterterrorism, and the coronavirus pandemic. She served Pence’s lead staffer of the Coronavirus Task Force until leaving the Trump Administration in August. Now she has recorded a devastating ad against Donald Trump for Republican Voters Against Trump.
“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,” Troye says in the video, “It was a matter of when. But the president didn’t want to hear that because his biggest concern was that we were in an election year and how was this going to affect what he considered his record of success?”
“It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying everything was okay when we know that it’s not.” Troye continues. “The truth is that he doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself.”
Troye cites the example of a Coronavirus Task Force meeting in which the president said, “Maybe this COVID thing is a good thing” because “I don’t like shaking hands with people.” She added that he said that the people wanting to shake his hand were “disgusting.”
Troye’s statement is also confirmed by recordings of the president released by Bob Woodward. Woodward’s tapes reveal a president who said, “I wanted to always play it down” even though he acknowledged “This is deadly stuff” as early as February 7.
Troye’s words might be written off as sour grapes from a disgruntled employee (and undoubtedly will be by Trump’s base) except that her testimony is merely one more installment in a long line of former Trump Administration officials with similar stories and complaints. She joins James Mattis, John Bolton, John Kelly, Rex Tillerson, and a host of others who have said that Donald Trump lacks the capacity to govern and is bad for the country. At least 11 former generals and admirals have raised the red flag on Trump.
The irony is that many of these people were darlings of the Republican right until they parted ways with Donald Trump. Now each is a persona non grata. Nothing will move a person faster from hero to zero in the Republican Party faster than voicing anything critical of President Trump.
The same goes for Olivia Troye, who was largely unknown outside the Administration. Miles Taylor, a former chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security, told CNN that Troye was “one of the most hardworking, honest public servants I have ever met in my entire career.” Taylor added that DHS recommended Troye for the vice president’s staff because “her background was immaculate, her service was extraordinary, her qualifications were unmatched” and that Pence had personally said that Troye was doing “an incredible job.” Contrast that description with today’s attacks on Troye as a Deep State Never Trumper.
In fact, some of the former staffers were once avid Trump supporters. Anthony Scaramucci, who served on the 2016 Trump campaign as well as briefly serving as the White House Communications Director, now says he realized that “My loyalty to God and the United States of America was more powerful than my loyalty to one man, a man who has left the country we all love weaker, poorer, and sicker due to his malevolence and incompetence.”
Granted that there are exceptions. Some former Trump officials stand by their man even after being fired. Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions are notable in this category.
The common threads between the critics who served in the Trump Administration are (1) a willingness to serve as advisors to Donald Trump and (2) a realization that Trump is bad for the country after spending time in proximity to the president.
The sheer number of people who come out of the Trump Administration and raise red flags about the president leaves only two possibilities. The first is that Donald Trump is lousy at picking people who are loyal and tends to hire people who are unprincipled enough to seek revenge by making up outlandish stories. The second is that the testimonials are true and that Mr. Trump’s behavior is so egregious and dangerous that he represents a national security threat. The evidence points to the second possibility.
As Miles Taylor pointed out, the warnings from former Administration officials are like police body camera footage that shows voters what is happening inside the Trump Administration. It is up to voters to heed those warnings for the good of both the country and the Republican Party, which is in serious need of a course correction.
“It was the opportunity and honor of a lifetime to be able to serve in the White House,” Olivia Troye says in her video message. “I put my heart and soul into this role every single day. But at some point, 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 was terrifying.”
“I have been a Republican my entire life,” Troye says. “I am a McCain Republican, I am a Bush Republican, and I am voting for Joe Biden because I truly believe we are in a time of constitutional crisis. At this point, it’s country over party.”
That is the definition of patriotism.
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