WASHINGTON – A former adviser of Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that "it does not" surprise her that President Donald Trump declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the Nov. 3 election, saying that she was involved in closed-door conversations with other officials discussing that scenario.
Olivia Troye, who worked on the coronavirus task force and served as an adviser Pence on counterterrorism and homeland security, said in an interview with CNN's Wolfe Blitzer that during her tenure, the conversations about Trump staying in power involved White House staffers and other government officials, including members of the intelligence community.
Troye said they discussed the president refusing to leave office if he loses in November, as well as him getting reelected but deciding not to leave after that term is up.
"You know, the president, when he's joking – if he says that he's joking, he's telling you a half-truth and in there is something fairly frightening and scary," Troye said.
Troye, who departed the White House in August, has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, who is the Democratic presidential nominee.
"The President can call it a hoax, but the truth is we have increasing cases ... I don't see the President changing the course of the direction that we're doing in terms of the response to this." - Olivia Troye, a former VP Mike Pence aide who rebuked Trump's Covid-19 response pic.twitter.com/4Xh1teVnmJ
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) September 25, 2020
Trump on Wednesday told reporters "we're going to have to see what happens," when asked if he would commit to a peaceful transition, assuming he lost the election. He also continued to criticize mail-in voting, once again claiming, without evidence, it will lead to widespread fraud.
"You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster," Trump told reporters Wednesday. "Get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very a peaceful – there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation.”
The comments caused bipartisan outrage. Without mentioning his name, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the transfer of power would continue as usual, writing on Twitter "the winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792."
Trump has repeatedly sowed doubt into the general election and mail-in voting. At rallies, the president has also repeatedly joked about seeking more than two terms, saying that it's a line that “triggers” outrage from his Democratic critics.
Contributing: John Fritze
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Olivia Troye: Officials discussed Trump not leaving White House