Olivia Troye, who served on the White House coronavirus task force, is the latest ex-member of the Trump administration to urge US voters to stop him winning a second term, The Independent reported.
In a video released by the group Republican Voters Against Trump, Troye said working with the president was “terrifying” and claimed he was more concerned about re-election than protecting the nation from the virus.
Troye alleges that, during one task force meeting she attended, the president said, “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.”
She said, “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. The truth is he doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself.”
Troye, who was Pence’s homeland security adviser, added, “If the president had taken this virus seriously, or if he had actually made an effort to tell how serious it was, he would have slowed the virus spread, he would have saved lives.”
Asked about her comments he left the White House for a campaign rally in Wisconsin, Trump said he had no idea who she is.
“She worked for the vice president. She was on the task force as some kind of a lower-level person. I have no idea who she is,” he told reporters.
“I never met her to the best of my knowledge. Maybe she was in a room. I have no idea who she is. She doesn’t know me. It’s just another person that leaves, and whether it’s CNN or Washington Post, they say negative things,” he said.
Despite claiming he had “no idea who she is”, Trump also claimed he had been told about the “most beautiful going away letter” written by Troye.
“She wrote a beautiful letter as I understand it, a letter praising the administration,” Trump said, adding, “But then the people get a hold of her and say: ‘Let’s say some bad things about Donald Trump’.”
The White House adamantly denied the remarks Troye described to the president, with White House Spokesperson Judd Deere saying “her assertions have no basis in reality and are flat-out inaccurate”.
Pence said he had not read her comments, but said it sounded “like one more disgruntled employee that has decided to play politics during election year”.
Trump told journalist Bob Woodward in recorded interviews that he intentionally downplayed the virus in public comments even though he was fully aware of the danger it posed. He is also a self-described germophobe and denounced the practice of shaking hands before he ran for office.
A lifelong Republican, Troye said she plans to vote for the Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, in November’s presidential election.
She joins a growing list of former Trump officials backing the Democrat, which includes Miles Taylor, former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, and former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.