Vice President Pence on Thursday dismissed a former aide who said she would vote for Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenCast of ‘Parks and Rec’ reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response Biden tells CNN town hall that he has benefited from white privilege MORE, calling her a “disgruntled employee” playing politics.
“I haven’t read her comments in any detail. But, it reads to me like one more disgruntled employee that has decided to play politics during an election year,” Pence said at the White House when asked about criticism leveled by former adviser Olivia Troye. “My staff has indicated and she made no comments like that when she was serving under our team here at the White House.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of the work we’ve done,” Pence added, touting the White House response to the coronavirus.
Troye, who served as Pence’s Homeland Security adviser as well as an adviser to the White House coronavirus task force, revealed earlier Thursday that she would vote for Biden because of President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president’s policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is ‘unwise’ Cast of ‘Parks and Rec’ reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE’s response to COVID-19 in an advertisement released by the group 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,” Troye said in the ad.
Troye also claimed Trump made a statement during a task force meeting that the coronavirus might be a “good thing” because he wouldn’t need to shake hands with “these disgusting people,” referring to his supporters.
Pence, who leads the White House coronavirus task force, was asked about the developments during a meeting on nursing home safety.
Pence has been a vocal defender of the Trump administration’s response to the virus amid consistent criticism of the president’s rhetoric downplaying the virus and other missteps. Polls show a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the virus, and Biden has consistently attacked the president over his response to the pandemic.
Troye stepped down from her position in July, having worked for Pence for two years. Other White House officials pushed back on her criticisms Thursday.
Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser, said in a statement that Troye reported directly to him “and never once during her detail did she every express any concern regarding the Administration’s response to the Coronavirus to anyone in her chain of command.”