Olivia Troye, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, announced in a video released Thursday that she’s voting for Joseph R. Biden, saying she ultimately had trouble looking herself in the mirror while assisting the White House’s coronavirus response team.
Ms. Troye said President Trump’s overriding concern in the early days of the pandemic was how the health crisis would affect his re-election prospects.
“The truth is he doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself,” she says. “When we were in a task force meeting, 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.’”
Ms. Troye’s testimonial is part of a broader effort from a group called Defending Democracy Together, which is trying to muster support from Republicans and conservatives for Mr. Biden.
Ms. Troye, a former advisor to Mr. Pence for homeland security and counterterrorism, said she put her “heart and soul” into the job.
“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?” she said. “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.”
The White House responded by saying that Ms. Troye, who left the administration last month, is a disgruntled former staffer who was never in private meetings with the president and that her assertions are “flat out inaccurate.”
“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,” said retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Mr. Pence’s national security advisor.
Mr. Biden’s team has been trying to highlight cross-party support he’s getting from Republicans, but many of the high-profile names are former officials or elected leaders who have little relevance in Mr. Trump’s Republican party.
On-the-record testimonials from former members of the administration like Ms. Troye are comparatively rare.
Miles Taylor, a former deputy chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, has also become a prominent backer of Mr. Biden and has criticized Mr. Trump’s managerial style.