Olivia Troye, Former Covid Task Force member Tells TRUTH about White House

Olivia Troye is brave, honest, and real. This former Member of the Corona Task Force and aide to Vice President Mike Pence details what it really wanted to work at the White House, during these challenging times.  As Mike Short, Chief of Staff to Mike Pence is diagnosed with Covid, Olivia recalls how mask wearing was frowned upon and how the culture of fear in the White House permeated.  What led Olivia, a lifelong Republican and person who really cared about her job and the American people to finally say “no more”.  Taking a stand and swimming against the tide is never easy, listen to this Episode and you will have a window behind the scenes at the White House.


Olivia Troye Show Notes:


02:04 – Olivia’s backstory

  • Olivia previously worked as the homeland security and counter-terrorism advisor to Vice President Mike Pence
  • Her responsibility was tracking emerging threats and breaking events – terrorism, mass shootings, national disasters, etc.

04:05 – Getting appointed to the Coronavirus Task Force

  • Olivia started tracking the pandemic in early January
  • They were trying to figure out what’s happening in Wuhan and understanding the virus even before the VP was actually appointed to lead the Task Force
  • In late January, they already had a very good perspective that the virus is already in the US but don’t know the extent yet
  • Unfortunately, the White House downplayed the threat. It’s a challenge when they realized that the dynamic at the Oval Office was to undermine the Task Force’s ability to do the job

11:50 – Signs that the Oval Office is downplaying the threat of Coronavirus

  • It happened repeatedly in the task force meetings when they were talking about PPEs, concerns about lack of masks, but they will say that everything is fine
  • The Trump – Cuomo fiasco sent a message that the Federal Government will let the states handle the crisis. Politicizing every step of the way divided everyone

18:30 – The domestic challenge of handling the coronavirus

  • We, Americans were so used to our freedoms. We don’t like to be shut down and told to stay inside
  • Wearing masks is not even familiar on our culture unlike in other countries who adhere to much stricter guidelines
  • The problems were: Lack of PPEs, we don’t make masks, no therapeutics are effective now

20:22 – Troubling anecdote about the president saying that covid is a “good thing”

  • Everybody knows the president is a germaphobe
  • They were in an early task force meeting and remembered the president coming in
  • She was shocked when the president said that covid is a “good thing” because he hates shaking hands with people

24:07 – Reconciling politics, the desire to do the right thing, and with who she is

  • It was a moral struggle to be in the situation
  • She did her best to go out of her way to help the public health community while navigating politics
  • There were times where she was told to change the language about schools, transportation, etc
  • The intimation and culture of fear is real in the White House. If you speak the truth, they’ll pay for it later or the president will discredit you


28:53 – VP Pence’s role in the Covid Task Force

  • Olivia worked very closely with Mike Pence and was a good boss
  • VP Pence was in an incredibly challenging situation when his boss is Donald Trump
  • She knows that VP Pence tries to do the right thing but there is an overshadowing dynamic coming out of the Oval Office


32:28 – The moment Olivia resigned from the Task Force

  • Her sense of commitment kept her from the job at first. As the election got closer, the political environment got worse
  • Every decision in relation to the coronavirus became politicized – premature opening the economy, and states
  • It felt like she’ll be caught in the dynamic where it will be morally uncomfortable
  • It was hard to leave the task force members personally because she felt like she’s letting them down and don’t have someone to turn to but she can’t sit anymore being surrounded by people who thinks that everything getting politicized is okay
  • Olivia wasn’t alone in her sentiment. Behind closed doors, some staffers were worried for their safety, some were even unsettled.
  • At first, she was scared of the repercussions and the fear of the unknown when she started speaking out


42:45 – Being a John McCain Republican

  • The Republican party has been unfortunately hijacked by Trumpism and she wasn’t raised that way
  • She looks at John McCain as someone who extended his arms to the other side and that’s what is really lacking in today’s political realm
  • It will take a lot of work to reform the Republican Party with the right set of values


49:55 – Olivia and her secret music blog

  • Olivia is a music lover and used to go a lot of shows and seek out indie artists
  • Aerosmith is her favorite band and went to a lot of their concerts
  • She took down the music blog when she stepped down out of the concern that people will use it to discredit her


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About The Author

Atara Twersky, Author of Curlee Girlee is a TODAY Show Style Icon. Her mission is to teach girls to embrace the beautiful curls they have with power and confidence. Join us as together we change the “coarse” of curly hair. Don’t forget to read our recent article featuring charities that Curlee Girlee loves!

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