'Does he have Stockholm syndrome?': Ex-Pence aide lashes out at him for siding with his 'would-be murderers'

'Does he have Stockholm syndrome?': Ex-Pence aide lashes out at him for siding with his 'would-be murderers'
Vice President Mike Pence, along with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, addresses his remarks at a coronavirus update briefing Wednesday, April 8, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

In an op-ed published by the Daily Signal earlier this week, former Vice President Mike Pence railed against the For the People Act — a Democrat-sponsored voting rights bill — and questioned the "integrity of the 2020 election." Olivia Troye, a former Pence aide turned Never Trump conservative, calls him out in an article for The Bulwark — slamming her one-time boss for continuing to promote the type of "lies and conspiracy theories" that led to the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building.

When Donald Trump was still president, Troye served as Pence's homeland security and counterterrorism adviser — and she was his main staffer for the White House coronavirus task force. But the El Paso native, a self-described "John McCain Republican," distanced herself from Trump's administration because of his COVID-19 response and endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Now, the 44-year-old Troye serves as co-director of the Republican Accountability Project.

Troye, in her Bulwark article, writes, "Does Mike Pence have a death wish? Not two months have passed since an armed, violent mob stormed the Capitol chanting, 'Hang Mike Pence,' erected a gallows, and forced the Secret Service to rush the then-vice president to safety — all because he had refused to overturn the 2020 election…. And yet! In an opinion piece for the Daily Signal, his first public statement since leaving office, Pence implicitly endorsed the exact lies and conspiracy theories that motivated his would-be murderers."

Troye notes that Pence, in his Signal op-ed, "never alleges that there was widespread voter fraud or an organized campaign or scheme to steal the election, because he knows that's not true."

"Instead," Troye writes, "he wallows in the vagaries of 'significant voting irregularities' and 'integrity,' surely knowing that the people who believe the Big Lie about the election will assume he's talking about how Hugo Chávez and Dominion conspired to overturn a landslide victory…. Does he have Stockholm syndrome?"

Pence's Signal op-ed, Troye laments, speaks volumes about his character.

"I worked for Pence from May 2018 to August 2020," Troye recalls. "When the White House formed the coronavirus task force, I was the vice president's chief COVID-19 staffer. I interacted with him regularly, and I have a pretty good idea of his character. Pence isn't evil. He's weak."

The Bulwark humorously illustrates Troye's piece with an illustration that depicts Pence as the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 film adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz." And Troye alludes to the Harold Arlen standard "If I Only Had a Brain," which was used in that movie, by saying that Pence could make a positive difference in the GOP if he "only had some bravery."

Troye writes that when Pence faced "political pressure" from the Trump White House during the coronavirus pandemic, he "twisted statistics and trends to make the outlook for the course of the pandemic seem much less serious than we knew it to be."

"Under just a little pressure, he crumbled like a blueberry muffin," Troye laments. "That's the most disappointing thing about Pence…. He could be perfectly positioned to debunk the Big Lie, to breathe some fresh air into the MAGA base of the party, and to become a champion for freedom and democracy both in the United States and around the world. If he only had some bravery."

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