- White House staff are scared for their lives after Trump returned to the White House with the coronavirus, according to former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Olivia Troye.
- She told the UK’s Times Radio that staff she has spoken to are “fearful” about catching the virus and “embarrassed” by Trump’s “reckless” behaviour.
- Trump returned to the White House on Monday having spent the weekend in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, removing his face mask upon arrival.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
White House staff are “fearful” for their lives after President Trump left hospital despite still having the coronavirus, according to former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Olivia Troye.
Growing numbers of White House staff and advisers to the president have already tested positive for the virus in the past week.
However, Troye, an ex-member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force told Times radio in the UK on Tuesday that other White House staff she had spoken to were increasingly “scared” that they would catch the virus after Trump returned to White House not wearing a mask despite still having the illness.
Troye told Times Radio: “You know, for my White House colleagues, I know they’re scared.
“I’ve had conversations with some people that are still there. Their bodies may react differently to COVID.
“COVID is a very unpredictable virus and people, you know, react to it in a very different way. I know that they’re fearful and they’re scared. And they’ve got to be, to a certain extent, embarrassed at what they’re watching, because this is the President and the administration that they’re currently supporting and working in.”
Troye told host John Pienaar that some White House staff privately agreed with her strong, public criticism of how Trump has handled the pandemic, and that staff working for the president have told her it’s “impossible to keep the President on message.”
She said: “I’ve had conversations behind closed doors along the way during my tenure in the White House, and I can tell you that, although I am speaking out in public, many of these people have felt the same way I do, behind closed doors. They know he is reckless.
“I’ve been told by, you know, some of his immediate staff that it is impossible to keep the President on message. I am sure that that’s what was going through their heads last night when they saw it all develop.”
Trump returned to the White House on Monday evening having spent the weekend receiving treatment at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He removed his face mask when he arrived, flouting medical advice designed to protect others from those who are infected with the virus.
He then shared a video on Twitter echoing misleading claims about the virus that he previously made in several Monday-afternoon tweets, telling Americans not to be afraid of the virus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans.
Troye’s remarks came amid reports that White House staff were furious with the president for returning to the White House while still suffering from the highly-contagious virus, which has led to the deaths of over 200,000 people across the US.
“It’s insane that he would return to the White House and jeopardize his staff’s health when we are still learning of new cases among senior staff,” a White House source told Axios. “This place is a cesspool.”
Axious described the source as “reflecting widespread dismay” among Trump administration officials.
The source added: “He was so concerned with preventing embarrassing stories that he exposed thousands of his own staff and supporters to a deadly virus. He has kept us in the dark, and now our spouses and kids have to pay the price. It’s just selfish.”
CNN also reported that multiple aides said they were worried they were unnecessarily put at risk over the past week.
White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said that while Trump was healthy enough to leave Walter Reed on Monday, he “may not be entirely out of the woods yet.” He was echoed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious-disease expert, who said Trump’s health could go “in the wrong direction” in the next few days.
Many people who’ve had COVID-19 have found that their health worsened about five to eight days into the illness. Trump appeared to struggle to breathe in a video taken after he returned to the White House.