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Friday, September 25, 2020

Former Pence aide: Staffers discussed scenarios where Trump won't leave White House

White House staffers discussed scenarios where President Donald Trump doesn't accept the results of the November presidential election and refuses to leave, according to a former staffer who has since spoken out against the president.

Olivia Troye, who worked on the coronavirus task force and served as an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence on counterterrorism and homeland security, said Friday she and other staffers held closed-door conversations about the scenario while she was working on the coronavirus task force.

Troye left the administration in August, long before Trump declined this week to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election. The president has also repeatedly joked about serving beyond his term limit and accused Democrats of trying to steal the election.

Troye warned the president's comments should be taken seriously, even if he passes them off as jokes.

"The president when he's joking, if he says that he's joking, he's telling you a half truth," Troye told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday. "And in there is something fairly frightening and scary."

"What you see is what you get," she added. "You should trust that. He doesn't hide it."

When asked Thursday if Trump would commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters: “The President will accept the results of a free and fair election.”

Troye last week appeared in an ad bashing the president as more concerned with his reelection than the pandemic that has now claimed more than 200,000 American lives. The ad was run by the group Republican Voters Against Trump. In it, Troye asserted that she is a lifelong Republican.

The White House defended Trump by casting Troye as a disgruntled former employee. Her former boss, retired Gen. Keith Kellogg, took to the White House lectern Tuesday to disavow Troye and said he personally escorted her out of the office.

Troye said she was not fired. Rather, she said, she resigned and several of her colleagues asked her to stay. She denied Kellogg's account during her Friday appearance with Blitzer.

"I'd love to see the video footage of this video tape where he supposedly escorted me out," Troye said. "I know a lot of the Secret Service people on the campus, and I would love to see that footage."

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