Fmr. COVID Task Force Member Says WH Officials “Bullied” And Pressured Doctors

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"There was certainly a lot of internal pressure from various senior, very senior political figures in the West Wing.”

Olivia Troye, a former adviser to Vice President Mike Pence on the White House coronavirus task force, said during an MSNBC interview last week that scientists involved with the COVID response were bullied and pressured by White House officials to fall in line with President Trump’s political agenda.

  • Troye told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow: “I saw a lot of political pressure and dynamics on the doctors on the task force first hand. There was certainly a lot of internal pressure from various senior, very senior political figures in the West Wing.”
  • Troye continued: “I saw the doctors bullied at times. I saw them at times have to really stand their ground and fight, and sometimes when they did that, it meant that most of you probably didn’t see them in the press briefing the next day. Because they had probably said something that was a little bit too forthcoming and very true, and it wasn’t in line with their message."
  • “So when it came to guidelines and documents that were incredibly critical to get out to the American people for agencies, such as the CDC, my heart goes out to these doctors,” the former aide said.
  • Troye said she worked very closely with the doctors and personally knows CDC Director Robert Redfield, whom she has seen “struggle with this incredibly hard, challenging dynamic of how do you lead this pandemic response.”
  • Asked which political figures in the White House were putting pressure on the doctors, Troye said, “We’re talking at the most senior levels of the echelon of the White House,” but added that she did not want to name names.
  • “But I will say that we are talking about people who make decisions for the president and the vice president on a daily basis at times and advise them very significantly,” Troye said.
  • She said the White House’s Office of Budget and Management and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs also were involved in some of the coordination on documents “that would end up with watered down guidances.”
  • “They were trying to ensure that whatever message was coming out of the White House was either for a voting bloc or some other concern about, ‘We’re in a hurry to open up the country because we’re in denial about what’s really happening around us.’”
  • Troye added that officials were determined to fit everything to President Trump’s message: “That was the goal of it, from what I could see.”



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