Administration

Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office

A former aide to Vice President Pence said that White House staffers have privately discussed a scenario in which President Trump loses the November election and refuses to leave office.

Olivia Troye — who served on the coronavirus task force and as an adviser to Pence on counterterrorism and homeland security and has since emerged as a top White House critic after leaving the administration — said she held closed-door talks with other staffers while she was on the task force and that she is concerned by recent comments from Trump in which he did not commit to a peaceful transfer of power. 

“It’s frightening to me, because to be honest, during my tenure at the White House, I’ve had conversations behind closed doors with White House staffers and other government officials, including people in the intelligence community, where we’ve actually discussed what if, what if he loses and refuses to leave, or better yet, what if his plan is four more years of Donald Trump should he win, and would he leave after that?” she said on CNN.

The remarks come after an avalanche of criticism over Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November election. 

“We’re going to have to see what happens, you know, but I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster,” Trump told reporters at a White House briefing Wednesday. 

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump added when pressed, referring to debunked theories about the susceptibility of mail-in ballots to fraud. “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.” 

Democrats have hammered Trump over the comments, warning that he’s putting the country’s democracy at risk.

“The president when he’s joking, if he says that he’s joking, he’s telling you a half truth,” Troye said. “And in there is something fairly frightening and scary.”

Troye left the administration in August and has used her time outside the White House to tear into Trump’s response to the coronavirus and endorse Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

“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 an ad recently released by a group of anti-Trump Republicans.

Tags Donald Trump election 2020 Joe Biden Mike Pence Mike Pence

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