White House staffers are scared for their lives and embarrassed by Trump's 'reckless' behavior, former staffer says

Adam Payne
·3 min read
donald trump coronavirus
President Donald Trump. Getty
  • White House staff members are scared for their lives after President Donald Trump returned to the White House with the coronavirus on Monday, said Olivia Troye, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence.

  • She told the UK's Times Radio on Tuesday that staffers she had spoken to were "fearful" about catching the virus and "embarrassed" by Trump's "reckless" behavior.

  • Trump returned to the White House on Monday having spent the weekend at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

White House staff members are "fearful" for their lives after President Donald Trump left the hospital on Monday despite still having the coronavirus, said Olivia Troye, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence.

Several White House staffers and advisers to the president have tested positive for the virus in the past week.

Troye, a former member of the White House's coronavirus task force, told Times Radio in the UK on Tuesday that other White House staff members she had spoken to were increasingly scared that they would catch the virus.

"You know, for my White House colleagues, I know they're scared," Troye said. "I've had conversations with some people that are still there. Their bodies may react differently to COVID.

"COVID is a very unpredictable virus, and people, you know, react to it in a very different way. I know that they're fearful and they're scared. And they've got to be, to a certain extent, embarrassed at what they're watching, because this is the president and the administration that they're currently supporting and working in."

Troye told the host John Pienaar that some White House staff privately agreed with her strong, public criticism of Trump's handling of the pandemic.

"I've had conversations behind closed doors along the way during my tenure in the White House, and I can tell you that, although I am speaking out in public, many of these people have felt the same way I do, behind closed doors," she said.

"They know he is reckless. I've been told by, you know, some of his immediate staff that it is impossible to keep the president on message. I am sure that that's what was going through their heads last night when they saw it all develop."

Trump returned to the White House on Monday evening having spent the weekend receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He removed his face mask when he arrived, flouting medical advice designed to protect people from those who are infected with the virus.

He then shared a video on Twitter echoing misleading claims about the virus that he had made in tweets on Monday afternoon. He told people not to be afraid of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans.

Other reports this week have described White House staffers as furious with the president for returning to the White House while he still has a highly contagious virus.

"It's insane that he would return to the White House and jeopardize his staff's health when we are still learning of new cases among senior staff," a White House source told Axios. "This place is a cesspool."

Axios described the source as "reflecting widespread dismay" among Trump administration officials.

The source added: "He was so concerned with preventing embarrassing stories that he exposed thousands of his own staff and supporters to a deadly virus. He has kept us in the dark, and now our spouses and kids have to pay the price. It's just selfish."

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