Former coronavirus task force member speaks out against Trump’s response

The president “could have saved lives,” former Pence aide said.

Olivia Troye, who served as Vice President Mike Pence’s homeland security adviser, described her time in the White House as “terrifying” and says the president “could have saved lives” in his response to the coronavirus pandemic in a video released Thursday.

“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.’ 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,” Troye said in the video released by “Republican Voters Against Trump.”

“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,” she added.

Troye has been a Republican her whole life and announced she will be voting for former Vice President Joe Biden because the country is at a time of “constitutional crisis.”

Pence called Troye a “disgruntled employee” who’s “decided to play politics” at a roundtable with the Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes at the White House Thursday.

“Well, I haven’t read her comments in any detail, but it reads to me like one more disgruntled employee has left the White House, and has decided to play politics during an election year,” he said. “I think my staff has indicated that she made no comments like that when she was serving on our team here at the White House coronavirus task force, and I couldn’t be more proud of the work we’ve done all along the way.”

Trump was asked about Troye’s comments outside the White House before traveling to a rally in Wisconsin, saying she sent a glowing resignation letter — before adding she was “terminated.”

“They didn’t want her. She was terminated,” he said. “She has nothing to do with me. I don’t know her, I never met her.”

The administration went to the unusual length of releasing Troye’s resignation letter later in the evening. The letter is addressed to “task force members” and does not mention Trump specifically.

The entirely positive letter reads, in part, “Having been on several conference calls into the late night hours starting in January, to supporting you day and night in every possible way to help you succeed in this mission, I have witnessed first hand how dedicated and committed all of you have been to doing the right thing. Thank you for entrusting me to be your rock during this hard time. I will always be rooting for you knowing that you will continue to fight the good fight.”

The anti-Trump group Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform — or REPAIR for short — has also released an initial list of “advisers” comprised of many former senior U.S. government officials.

Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security launched the group. Troye is an adviser to the group, along with Josh Venable, the former chief of staff at the Department of Education.

The group describes themselves as “a group of current and former senior U.S. government officials and conservatives — including from the Reagan, Bush 41 and 43, and Trump administrations — seeking to restore principled leadership in Washington, refocus the Republican Party’s priorities, and repair the American republic.”

ABC News’ Justin Gomez and Ben Gittleson contributed to this report.

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