The White House moved quickly Thursday to try to discredit Olivia Troye, the former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, after she released a video charging that President Donald Trump failed to protect the public from coronavirus and that he only cared about getting reelected.
In a flurry of statements from White House aides and President Donald Trump, the administration sought to paint Troye as a disgruntled, low-level employee who was fired. But in doing so, the White House made a series of misleading and sometimes outright false statements about the role Troye had on the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the circumstances of her departure.
Troye told CNN she left the Trump administration on her own, and that much of the behavior from the President she cited in the video — such as accusing the President of suggesting Covid-19 was a good thing because he wouldn’t have to shake hands with people — was witnessed by others.
The White House denied her claims, and in doing so, downplayed her role. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said Troye was “never in private meetings with the President,” while White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted Troye “typically sat in the overflow room of task force.”
But there are pictures of Troye sitting behind Trump and Pence at a task force meeting, and a White House aide acknowledged she was “present a few times when the President addressed large groups — like the task force — where dozens of people were present.”
Asked for clarification on defining a “private meeting,” the White House aide said “she’s never met the President, she definitely never briefed the President, and to the best of my knowledge never stepped foot in the Oval and she was never in small meetings with the President.”
But Troye tells CNN much of this is also false. She claims that she has met the President, and that in fact, he asked her who she was in one of the first task force meetings. Troye claims she was present for every meeting when the President joined for calls with governors about Covid-19, and that she was in the Oval Office a few times with task force members, including when Trump asked her boss at the time, the vice president, to lead the task force.
“What I’ve said about him and his behavior was also witnessed by all of these other people because yes, they were in the meetings with me,” Troye told CNN in an interview. “I’m not claiming to be in small meetings with him. And it didn’t take a small meeting to make the President speak freely because he is who he is.”
Trump joined in the attacks on Troye Thursday evening, falsely claiming she had been fired and touting the goodbye letter she sent to colleagues in July.
“We have a letter from her, I was just told, that is absolutely, the most beautiful going away letter. She was terminated. They