One of former Vice President Mike Pence’s closest advisors has some strong thoughts on what she calls “Trumpism.”
Olivia Troye’s views about the dangers of the movement behind former president Donald Trump caused the lifelong Republican to cut her ties with the White House pack, where she’d served as Pence’s advisor on homeland security, counterterrorism and COVID-19, and instead become part of a movement working, she says, to “support Republicans who stand up for democracy.”
Troye is now the director of The Republican Accountability Project, a 501(c)4 nonprofit whose board chair is neoconservative author Bill Kristol. The group counts former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele among its board members.
The group’s Republicans for Voting Rights initiative recently erected dozens of billboards with the message “Trump Lost. No more ‘audits’” in high-profile locations in Atlanta and other major markets across eight states where 2020 presidential election audits are still in play.
Atlanta Civic Circle talked to Troye, who’s based in Washington D.C., to learn more about Republicans who’ve abandoned the Republican party because of their concerns about Trump–a small but growing subset of the electorate.
Troye left the Trump White House in August 2020 and became an outspoken critic against the administration’s handling of the pandemic, going on to publicly support Joe Biden in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Jan. 6, 2021 was a turning point for Troye and, she says, other like-minded Republicans who have become disillusioned by a party they know longer recognize or understand.
Troye watched in horror as throngs overran the U.S. Capitol that day, protesting the 2020 presidential election results in favor of President Joe Biden. Inside the cavernous building, Troye’s former boss, there to oversee the electoral college certification, was secreted away as hundreds of protestors breached the building, chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”
“That was so hard to watch that day. The worst part is it almost led to his death,” Troye told Atlanta Civic Circle.
The conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Tammy Joyner: Tell me about your organization.
Olivia Troye: The Republican Accountability Project was launched after January 6. We were concerned about what was happening. We cannot continue to go down this path.
I’ve seen how hard it is to support the Republicans who took a stand for the truth. We wanted to make sure that we support those who are going to come forward and tell the truth. I, obviously, having worked in the Trump administration, have come forward and really had a very personal understanding and connection to that. I have lived it..
What prompted Republicans for Voting Rights’ recent “Trump Lost” billboard campaign?
You have hyper-partisan people continuing to question the 2020 election results, which we know was a free, safe and secure election. They continue to undermine our democracy and voter confidence in our elections by these efforts that, so far, have not surfaced anything of true value.
It’s been a waste of taxpayer dollars. It’s been hurtful to public confidence. Not only are you eroding public confidence in our election system, which is the foundation of our democracy, but it’s also potentially fueling violence.
Georgia’s former Republican senator, David Perdue, recently announced his bid for governor. A few days later, he filed a lawsuit to try and, again, inspect absentee ballots from the 2020 election here in Fulton County. Your thoughts?
He knows that this election was not stolen, yet he has made the calculated decision to, once again, double down on this lie. We’re seeing that with a lot of ‘Trumpist’ candidates. It’s pandering to a base.
What impact has the political divisions of the last year had on the Republican Party?
This is a really dark moment for the party. Many individuals have decided their loyalty to this one man [Trump], and their growing base of support seems to be unwavering. They are willing to go to great lengths to continue to lie to the American people at the expense of what is happening to our society.
I imagine you have a story to tell, after working in the Trump White House. Have you thought about writing a book?
I’ve thought about it. When I spoke out, it was really about saving lives and learning to do everything I could to stop Trump from being re-elected. He’s still in the picture, but what’s left is his legacy and this movement I refer to as “Trumpism.” What the Republican Party is now is not anything like the party I grew up with. I grew up in a very moderate household. This to me is completely appalling.