Politics Pence adviser knocks ex-staffer who criticized Trump on COVID-19

22:45  22 september  2020
22:45  22 september  2020 Source:   thehill.com

‘It was awful’: Ex-Pence aide endorses Biden, blames Trump for U.S. coronavirus deaths

  ‘It was awful’: Ex-Pence aide endorses Biden, blames Trump for U.S. coronavirus deaths Olivia Troye, an ex-White House homeland security adviser who served as Vice President Mike Pence’s lead task force staffer for six months, endorses Biden in a video released by political advocacy group 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 — it was a matter of when. But the president didn’t want to hear that,” Troye said in the video. “His biggest concern was that he was in an election year ... and the truth is he doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself.

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The Trump and Biden records. The Supreme Court. Covid - 19 . While Biden and Democrats have slammed the Trump administration for failing to effectively respond to the public health crisis, the president maintains his efforts have been a success.

The White House on Tuesday sought to forcefully push back on a former aide to Vice President Pence who has offered support for Democratic nominee Joe Biden and publicly criticized President Trump's handling of the novel coronavirus.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Pence adviser knocks ex-staffer who criticized Trump on COVID-19 © Getty Pence adviser knocks ex-staffer who criticized Trump on COVID-19

Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Pence's national security adviser, appeared at a press briefing Tuesday afternoon to offer criticism of Olivia Troye, the ex-Pence staffer, claiming he "fired her" for underperforming and disputing her behind-the-scenes account of coronavirus task force meetings at the White House.

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"What she has said, I have never heard. That's never happened and I've been through every single meeting of the task force, been with the president and the vice president through every meeting," Kellogg, who did not take questions during his appearance, told reporters.

Kellogg defended Trump's response to the virus, saying the president has made "critical decisions" like restricting travel from China and arguing that Trump has projected confidence like a leader should.

"We are now facing the worst pandemic we have seen in over 100 years and we are fighting through it. We are this close to a vaccine that will work," Kellogg said.

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Vice President Mike Pence was putting "a little distance" between himself and others this weekend after a staffer tested positive for COVID - 19 , a senior administration official told "It is scary to go to work," Hassett, who formerly served as Trump 's top economic adviser , said on CBS News "Face the Nation."

Troye, who served as Pence's homeland security adviser and an adviser to the White House coronavirus task force before departing in July, said in an advertisement released last week by the group Republican Voters Against Trump that the current president failed to take COVID-19 seriously and keep Americans safe.

She also claimed that Trump said during one task force meeting that the virus may be a "good thing" because he would no long have to shake hands with people he regarded as "disgusting."

Troye is among a number of Republicans and former Trump administration officials who have publicly criticized the president and offered support for Biden, who is currently leading Trump in national and swing state polling less than two months from the November election.

The former Pence aide appeared on NBC's "Today" show earlier Tuesday, saying the task force knew in late January that the coronavirus would be a big problem. In the weeks following, Trump went on to downplay the threat posed by the virus, likening it to the seasonal flu and predicting it would "disappear."

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The UK government’s chief scientific adviser , Sir Patrick Vallance, has warned that immunity against Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, who also spoke at the briefing, warned that the Vallance showed a graph that projected around 49,000 Covid - 19 cases each day by mid-October if

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White House officials, including Pence, have dismissed Troye as a "disgruntled" former official. Trump told reporters last week that he didn't know her, describing her as " some kind of a lower-level person."

The White House has also pointed to Troye's email sent to colleagues when she departed her White House position in July. In the message, Troye complimented the work of colleagues on the task force and wrote that she had "witnessed first hand how dedicated and committed all of you have been to doing the right thing."

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