Just Another Disgruntled Ex-White House Staffer Who Thinks Trump Ain’t S**t
Olivia Troye is yet another lifelong Republican who's announced she's voting for Joe Biden. She describes herself as a “John McCain and George W. Bush" Republican, so she has a high tolerance for malarkey. She just thinks Trump's a deranged sociopath who's completely unfit for office. Welcome to the club.
Troye used to work as Vice President Mike Pence's adviser for homeland security. She quit in July after serving as his lead staffer on the COVID-19 task force. She was horrified by the experience and just released a video for Bill Kristol's Republican Voters Against Trump. She was nervous about speaking out, worried about both her career and her family. However, cynics might suggest breaking with Trump now is the best thing for her professionally. I get that, but I don't think there's a wealth of opportunity for Republicans who help deliver another Democratic blue wave in November.
Sure, Biden will offer a few choice slots in his administration to non-Trump Republicans, but the top aides for Biden and Kamala Harris will be Democrats and rightly so. Troye doesn't deserve a Nobel (or even Noble) Prize but she's speaking out publlicly when others with firsthand knowledge of Trump's perfidy have not. And they have far less to lose than Troye does (looking at you, Michael Kelly).
She's already been disowned by her former boss. Pence, like the smarmy weasel he is, quickly dismissed Troye as “one more disgruntled employee that has decided to play politics during an election year." I agree with Josh Barro who tweeted, "An organization that produces a shitlload of disgruntled, troublesome ex-employees is ordinarily a poorly run organization." You'd think the Trump White House could've saved itself a lot of trouble by keeping Free Pizza Fridays.
Troye describes Trump's craptastic COVID-19 response in an interview with The New Yorker's Susan Glaser.
I asked about her firsthand observation of the President during the crisis. She said that Trump was "disruptive." That he could not "focus." That he was consumed by himself and his prospects in November. "For him, it was all about the election," Troye told me. "He just can't seem to care about anyone else besides himself."
Trump's inability to focus or pay attention to anything beyond himself for more than eight minutes is reflective of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which is often a comorbid condition with psychopathy. (THIS DOES NOT MEAN everyone with ADHD are psychopaths. Correlation is not causation.) He's not just over his head. He simply lacks the necessary empathy and regard for human life to govern during a public health crisis, especially when so many of the right choices (e.g. an economic shutdown) would run counter to what he considered his best interests.
In the video, Troye recounts when Trump, a noted germaphobe, met with the coronavirus task force, early on in the crisis, and told its members that perhaps the pandemic was a good thing because he would no longer have to shake hands with all the "disgusting people" at his rallies and other public events.
I wish I could feel sorry for the MAGA crowd considering their idol went full Face in the Crowd on them, but I'm not there yet. Check back with them after Harris is sworn in.
Troye confirms what the Woodward tapes already revealed: Trump was fully aware of how serious COVID-19 was but he downplayed the dangers to the public like a used car salesman unloading a beat-up Pinto. His primary concern was his own reelection.
Trump did have room in his twisted mind for other issues, but they were all matters related to his preening vanity and ego.
TROYE: We have been in meetings where we were supposed to be talking about the virus ... and he wanted to talk for 45 minutes on how upset he was with some news anchor at his preferred news network ... We have actual items on this agenda that we really need to discuss, and time matters right now. But instead we're going to go resolve your concern about whatever some news anchor said about you off the cuff.
She reveals that it was Tucker Carlson who hurt Trump's fee-fees. This is all sitcom material, but the comically childish (always white male) boss is usually the publisher of a fashion magazine not the president of the United States.
The testimonials from Troye and former Homeland Security secretary Elizabeth Neumann reinforce that Trump wasn't just callously inept but actively obstructed any constructive effort to contain COVID-19. Let's hope this convinces more women from their demo, many of whom voted for Trump in 2016, to help remove him from office in 2020.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."