Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force had kind words for Olivia Troye, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, who made headlines Thursday with her denunciation of the Trump administration and endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes asked the infectious-disease expert about the former administration aide in light of her raising concerns earlier Thursday about President Trump’s handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“What can you do to reassure people who hear this and think that the person leading the response, the president of the United States, doesn’t care?” Mr. Hayes asked Dr. Fauci.
Although he declined to discuss Ms. Troye’s specific comments and concerns, Dr. Fauci offered comparably fonder words for the former aide than Mr. Trump or Mr. Pence.
“I interacted with Olivia, I liked her, she was a good person, she was important to the team as a staff person to the Coronavirus task force. But I don’t know what to make about what just has come out recently. It would be very difficult for me to comment on that,” said Dr. Fauci.
Ms. Troye, a former homeland security adviser to Mr. Pence, appeared in a political ad released earlier Thursday attacking the administration and endorsing Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden.
“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’,” she said in the video, referring to COVID-19, the contagious disease caused by the coronavirus.
“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 said.
Mr. Pence and White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere have each called Ms. Troye a “disgruntled” former employee Thursday.
“She was on the task force as some kind of a lower-level person. I have no idea who she is,” Mr. Trump told reporters.
“Anytime somebody leaves our big, massive government, they leave and they try and — they get coerced into saying bad things. And it’s very unfortunate. It’s a very sad thing,” said Mr. Trump.