Maddow Blog | Will others on Team Trump follow Olivia Troye’s honorable example?

After Donald Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, and called for officials to “get rid of the ballots” to help him remain in office, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) appeared on the show and said something that struck a chord with me.

“This is a moment that I would say to any Republican of good conscience working in the administration: it is time for you to resign,” the California Democrat said, adding, “If you have been debating about whether you can continue to serve the country by serving this president, you can’t.”

As part of the same interview, Schiff offered a related message to former Trump administration officials watching these events unfold:

“I would say to those who have been on the sidelines maintaining a dignified silence who have served in the administration in the past, you cannot maintain your silence any longer. You have to maintain dignified speech now. You have to speak out. Do not wait until after the election. Do not wait until we have the chaos the president wants after the election … because if you do wait, knowing what is to come, you will share some of the burden and responsibility for that chaos that comes.”

And this in turn got me thinking about Olivia Troye, who worked as a national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence for two years, and who also served as his top adviser on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Last week, Troye, a lifelong Republican voter, announced her support for Joe Biden, alerting Americans to the fact that she saw — first-hand, with her own eyes, from a front-row seat — Trump’s dangerous ineptitude.

She added she now finds it necessary to put “country over party.”

This took no small amount of courage. Indeed, the New Yorker‘s Susan Glasser spoke to Troye and wrote soon after, “In the end, this is what struck me most during my conversation with Troye: she is young, only forty-three years old, with a long career ahead of her, and she was willing to put it all on the line publicly.”

Quite right. Troye could’ve kept her head down, said nothing, and looked forward to future successes in Republican politics. But she didn’t: Troye followed her conscience and felt the need to alert the public to the threat posed by her own party’s president.

What followed was predictable: White House officials began going after Troye this week, peddling claims she described as “bald-faced” lies. It’s likely, many professional opportunities — many of them lucrative — will no longer be available to her.

All of which brings me back to Adam Schiff’s call from last night: “I would say to those who have been on the sidelines maintaining a dignified silence who have served in the administration in the past, you cannot maintain your silence any longer…. You have to speak out.”

Or put another way, they have to show the same kind of courage Olivia Troye showed.

To be sure, prominent voices — including former Defense Secretary James Mattis and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly — have criticized Trump in ways that matter.

But they could go much further. Given what we know of their perspectives, former officials like Mattis, Kelly, and former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats could explicitly alert the public to Trump’s unfitness for office. They could also endorse his major-party rival.

It wouldn’t be easy, it would likely carry some costs, but if Olivia Troye can step up and speak out, so can every other member of the president’s team who knows he has no business remaining in the White House.

If Trump’s campaign against his own country’s system of elections won’t spur them to action, what will?

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