Speed Reads

Club #NeverTrump

Pence calls Biden-endorsing former aide Olivia Troye 'disgruntled.' Fauci says 'she was important to the team.'

There are so many former Trump administration officials who now oppose his bid for re-election, they formed their own organization Thursday. The new group, the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform, is led by former Homeland Security Department Chief of Staff Miles Taylor and another former senior DHS official, Elizabeth Neumann. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' former chief of staff, Josh Venable, is also a member, as is short-tenured White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and, according to Taylor, a current senior administration official. There are currently 26 Republicans in the group, Politico reports.

Olivia Troye, Vice President Mike Pence's homeland security and counterterrorism adviser until July, is one of the 26. In ad Thursday for another anti-Trump Republican group, Republican Voters Against Trump, Troye described watching all the work of the coronavirus task force — she was Pence's representative — being undermined by Trump.

When asked about Troye endorsing Trump's Democratic rival, Joe Biden, Pence said "it reads to me like one more disgruntled employee that has decided to play politics during [an] election year." "Disgruntled employee" is Trump's go-to description for the numerous aides and Cabinet secretaries who have sharply criticized him after leaving his administration and it's "such a weird talking point," New York's Josh Barro tweeted. "An organization that produces a sh--load of disgruntled, troublesome ex-employees is ordinarily a poorly run organization."

MSNBC's Chris Hayes asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the coronavirus task force's top infectious disease expert, about Troye's statement on Thursday night, and he said he couldn't discuss the politics. "I interacted with Olivia, I liked her, she was a good person, she was important to the team as a staff person to the coronavirus task force, but you know, I don't know what to make about what has just come out recently," Fauci said. "It would be very difficult for me to comment on that."

"I think the American people should feel confidence in that, that a lot of people are looking at this very, very carefully to make sure that there's not political things that drive what should be scientific considerations," Fauci said. "I'm one of them, and I have a number of colleagues that are with me."