Trump said coronavirus was good because he didn’t have shake hands with ‘disgusting people’, claims ex-White House aide

U.S. President Donald Trump has been in office since Jan. 20, 2017. Take a look at his journey, from being a successful real-estate mogul, to a reality television star, to becoming the 45th head of state of the nation.

Donald Trump once said Covid-19 might be a “good thing” because it would stop him from having to shake hands with “disgusting people”, according to a former top adviser to US vice president Mike Pence.

Olivia Troye, who served on the White House coronavirus task force, is the latest ex-member of the Trump administration to urge US voters to stop him winning a second term.

In a video released by the group Republican Voters Against Trump, Ms Troye said working with the president was “terrifying” and claimed he was more concerned about re-election than protecting the nation from the virus.

Ms Troye alleges that, during one task force meeting she attended, the president said: “Maybe this Covid thing is a good thing. I don’t like shaking hands with people. I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people.”

She said: “Those disgusting people are the same people that he claims to care about. These are the people still going to his rallies today who have complete faith in who he is. The truth is he doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself.”

Ms Troye, who was Mr Pence’s homeland security adviser, added: “If the president had taken this virus seriously, or if he had actually made an effort to tell how serious it was, he would have slowed the virus spread, he would have saved lives.”

Slide 1 of 39: - In this combination of file photos, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on March 12, 2020, left, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on April 5, 2020. Early polling in the general election face-off between Trump and Biden bears out a gap between the two contenders when it comes to who Americans see as more compassionate to their concerns. (AP Photo, File)

The race to determine who would be the next U.S. president is well underway. Here’s a look at the developments along the way that lead to election day on Nov. 3, 2020.

Asked about her comments he left the White House for a campaign rally in Wisconsin, Mr Trump said he had no idea who she is. “She worked for the vice president. She was on the task force as some kind of a lower-level person. I have no idea who she is,” he told reporters.

“I never met her to the best of my knowledge. Maybe she was in a room. I have no idea who she is. She doesn’t know me. It’s just another person that leaves, and whether it’s CNN or Washington Post, they say negative things.”

Despite claiming he had “no idea who she is”, Mr Trump also claimed he had been told about the “most beautiful going away letter” written by Ms Troye.

“She wrote a beautiful letter as I understand it, a letter praising the administration,” Mr Trump said. “But then the people get a hold of her and say: ‘Let’s say some bad things about Donald Trump’.”

Slide 2 of 39: President Donald Trump, center, salute with his son Barron, left, and Vice President Mike Pence as they view the 58th Presidential Inauguration parade for President Donald Trump in Washington. Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The White House adamantly denied the remarks Ms Troye described to the president, with White House spokesperson Judd Deere saying “her assertions have no basis in reality and are flat-out inaccurate”.

A lifelong Republican, Ms Troye said she plans to vote for the Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, in November’s presidential election.

The White House adamantly denied the remarks Ms Troye ascribed to the president, with White House spokesperson Judd Deere saying “her assertions have no basis in reality and are flat-out inaccurate”.

Mr Pence said he had not read her comments, but said it sounded “like one more disgruntled employee that has decided to play politics during election year”.

Mr Trump told journalist Bob Woodward in recorded interviews that he intentionally downplayed the virus in public comments even though he was fully aware of the danger it posed. He is also a self-described germophobe and denounced the practice of shaking hands before he ran for office.

A lifelong Republican, Ms Troye said she plans to vote for the Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, in November’s presidential election.  

She joins a growing list of former Trump officials backing the Democrat, which includes Miles Taylor, former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, and former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.Read more

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