Troye, who worked as an adviser to Pence on counterterrorism and homeland security issues before leaving the administration in August, appeared in an ad released last Thursday for the group Republican Voters Against Trump in which she recounted her experience on the taskforce.
“It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything’s OK when we know that it’s not,” Troye said. “He doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself.”
Troye also claimed that Trump during one meeting supposed that “maybe this Covid thing’s a good thing” because he wouldn’t have to shake hands with people.
The White House has strenuously rejected her allegations and cast Troye as part of a growing gallery of disgruntled former employees trying to undermine the president.
“Olivia Troye worked for me,” Kellogg said on Tuesday, also claiming that he was the one who recommended she be removed from her position. “The reason I fired her was her performances started to drop after six months working on the task force.”
Kellogg said he was also at the task force meetings Troye attended and never heard Trump say the things she asserted.
“That has never happened,” he said. “What bothers me about what Olivia said is, by insinuation, the disparagement of the task force, the vice president and the president of the United States.”
White House aides have pointed to a letter Troye sent after her departure that praised the task force’s work against Covid-19, though her criticisms have been about Trump and not the other parts of the response team.
“I put my heart and soul into this role every single day,” Troye said in the ad, the original version of which appears to have been pulled down because of a copyright claim. “But at some points I would come home at night, I would look myself in the mirror and say, are you really making a difference? Because no matter how hard you work or what you do, the president is going to do something detrimental to keeping Americans safe.”
White House press secretary Kaleigh McEnany on Tuesday also took a shot at Troye and another former administration official — Miles Taylor, who served as chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security — who has broken ranks and started working to defeat Trump.
“These are not profiles in courage; these are profiles in cowardice,” she said.
Kellogg said that Trump and other officials had been resolutely empathetic to those who have been sickened or killed by the virus.
“That bothers us every day,” he said. “Don’t think it doesn’t, and it bothers the president.”
In a statement, Troye said that it was “sad that Gen. Kellogg is telling a bald faced lie to protect the President.”
“I resigned on my own accord & was asked to stay,” Troye said. “I wrote a note thanking all the colleagues who had worked so hard with me in spite of POTUS & I stand by that.”
Her statement was accompanied by a social media post dated Aug. 15, the day she left the White House, with a challenge coin emblazoned with Kellogg’s signature and the caption “Love this man. We had a great [heart] to [heart] today.”
Taylor likewise rebuked the White House criticism of former aides like himself and Troye who have made public their concerns with the president’s leadership and accused Kellogg of being duplicitous to appease Trump.
“White House aide Olivia Troye wasn’t fired,” Taylor wrote on Twitter. “She left on her own accord. You’re only saying that Keith because she’s speaking out.
“You’ve even waxed poetic about her to my face,” Taylor added.