- Olivia Troye, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, said that President Donald Trump spent 45 minutes criticizing a Fox News host during a critical coronavirus meeting.
- On the agenda for the meeting was a discussion on evacuation procedures for people on cruise ships, "which was a big issue at the very beginning of this pandemic," Troye said.
- The meeting turned into "45 minutes of going off on Tucker Carlson," Troye said.
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A former White House aide said that President Donald Trump spent 45 minutes railing against Fox News host Tucker Carlson instead of following through on an agenda that included discussions of safety procedures for people on cruise ships at the height of the coronavirus.
Oliva Troye, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence who served on the coronavirus task force, said that Trump derailed multiple critical coronavirus meetings to speak about entirely unrelated matters.
"We have been in meetings where we were supposed to be talking about the virus and either travel restrictions or how we were going to evacuate people off of cruise ships, which was a big issue at the very beginning of this pandemic and what we were going to do with them, and he wanted to talk for 45 minutes on how upset he was with some news anchor at his preferred news network," Troye said in an ad released Friday by Republican Voters Against Trump.
"And he looked around the room and said, 'Who's gonna call this person and set them straight?'"
—Republican Voters Against Trump (@RVAT2020) September 18, 2020
In the ad, Troye went on to describe how other aides in the meeting felt uncomfortable at Trump's decision to go off the agenda.
"Time matters right now but instead we're going to go resolve your concern about whatever some news anchor said off the cuff that upset you," other aides and task force members were thinking, according to Troye. "That is what President Trump is. That's what he cares about."
"Forty-five minutes of going off on Tucker Carlson," Troye said. In one of those meetings, Trump was angry at Carlson for an interaction he had with White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, Troye explained in the video. Trump in that meeting asked whether then-White House Communications Director Hope Hicks would call up Carlson, Troye said.
White House spokesperson Judd Deere called Troye a "disgruntled former detailee" in a statement to Insider and said she "was never in private meetings with the President."
Trump in remarks to reporters Thursday declined to know her. "She was on the task force as some kind of a lower-level person. I have no idea who she is," Trump said. "I don't met her — I never met her, to the best of my knowledge. Maybe she was in a room. I have no idea who she is."
"I wanted to always play it down," Trump reportedly said in an interview with journalist Bob Woodward in March.
"I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic," he added, revealing that he knew more about the dangers the coronavirus posed than he let on.
The coronavirus has infected more than 6.7 million people in the United States, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of that total, more than 198,000 people died from it.
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