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'Country over party': List of former Trump officials backing Biden is growing

A former aide to Mike Pence is the latest to say she is voting for Joe Biden.

By Emily Singer - September 18, 2020
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Donald Trump

Olivia Troye, Mike Pence’s former lead staffer on the White House coronavirus task force, on Thursday became the fourth former Trump administration official to endorse Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, declaring that Donald Trump is a danger to the United States and that a vote for Biden is putting “country over party.”

Troye, who served as homeland security adviser to Pence, said in a video that Trump only cares about his reelection, and that his selfishness led to his failed coronavirus response.

“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,” Troye said in the video, in which she later endorsed Biden. “But the president didn’t want to hear that, because his biggest concern was that we were in an election year, and how was this going to affect what he considered to be his record of success?”

She added that Trump mused at one coronavirus task force meeting that the virus may be a “good thing” because it would allow him to stop having to touch his supporters.

Troye said Trump commented at the meeting, “I don’t like shaking hands with people. I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people.”

Troye joins a growing contingent of ex-Trump administration officials denouncing their former boss and endorsing Biden:

  • Former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor said back in August that “the country is less secure as a direct result of the president’s actions.” Taylor said Trump wanted to separate children from their parents at the border to scare immigrants from wanting to come to the United States and to pull relief funding for the California wildfires because the state did not vote for him.
  • Elizabeth Neumann, the former assistant secretary of counterterrorism and threat prevention, said Trump has helped radicalize right-wing extremists, which U.S. intelligence deems a growing domestic terror threat. “We have the president not only pretty much refusing to condemn, but throwing fuel on the fire, creating opportunities for more recruitment through his rhetoric,” Neumann told NPR.
  • Josh Venable, former chief of staff to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, joined an anti-Trump group launched by Taylor and Neumann.

Other former Trump administration officials haven’t said they are voting for Biden, but have urged people not to vote for Trump.

Former national security adviser John Bolton trashed Trump in a book he published earlier this year and said he will not vote for Trump in November, but also said he wouldn’t vote for Biden.

And former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has called Trump a threat to the Constitution but has not said he’s voting for Biden.

In an op-ed in the Atlantic in June, after military police tear-gassed peaceful protesters so Trump could stage a photo-op, Mattis wrote: “When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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