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Fmr. Pence Aide: Trump ‘deserves to be removed from office’

Olivia Troye, Republican Accountability Project Co-Director & Former Aide to Vice President Mike Pence, joins Yahoo Finance's Kristin Myers to discuss her role in the Republican Accountability Project, as the group pledges $50 million to defend Republicans who support the impeachment of President Trump.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: And it's not just Republicans inside of Congress pushing for Trump's removal. It's also Republicans outside of Congress. A new group, the Republican Accountability Project, is pledging to spend $50 million to support any Republican that votes in favor of Trump's impeachment.

We're joined now by Olivia Troye, Republican Accountability Project co-director. And Olivia is a former member of the Trump administration. She served as an aide to Vice President Mike Pence.

Olivia, I'm wondering if you think that this financial incentive, especially as we see a lot of companies actually halting donations to members of Congress, particularly Republican members of Congress, will be enough to push some of those Republicans into that impeach camp. As you guys are talking to politicians right now, how are those efforts going? Are you hearing more and more interest, either from congressional Republicans or Senate Republicans that they would be interested in voting in favor of impeaching the president?

OLIVIA TROYE: Well, I certainly think that now is the time for these leaders to really make a choice, right, to vote on their conscience and vote for what's right for the country. And the enabling of Trump and Trumpism, as I would say, in the Republican Party has gone on for way too long. So the project is basically here to say when you come forward, if you come forward, we will have your back. And we know, we've heard the statements from people like Don Jr., Trump's son, who, at the rally, I believe, that day that incited violence, specifically called out the fact that they would be coming for those that did not go along with the overturning of the election. And he was speaking to Republicans directly.

And that has been sort of the trend that we've seen, right? When you speak out and you don't fall in line with what President Trump wants you to do, the wrath and the fury comes your way. And so this project is basically to support those who have not been part of the enabling of the lies and the conspiracy of stop this steal.

This election was secure. It was fair. And we are trying to move forward, obviously, and supporting the Biden administration. But this is basically to tell those people and to those that are going to stand during this impeachment vote that there will be an umbrella there, that there will be someone there on the other side, because right now, a lot of these people, they do fear. They fear the enabling of the Trump movement within the party.

KRISTIN MYERS: Right.

OLIVIA TROYE: And--

KRISTIN MYERS: Right.

OLIVIA TROYE: --we're going to be watching for that.

KRISTIN MYERS: So on that point about now is the time, you know, we're a week away from the Inauguration of a new administration. This is not the first time that the president has faced impeachment. What do you say to those people who, frankly, are looking at you and thinking that this move is way too late, that you guys had an option to do this the last time around that the president was being impeached for the allegations that he was having his political opponent investigated.

Why now? You're a week away from getting a new president. Why is now the time as opposed to before?

OLIVIA TROYE: Because as much as this president has been able to get away with, what happened January 6, it crosses the line of partisanship. It crosses the line of what it's like to an-- what it is to be an American, right? These are not--

KRISTIN MYERS: So are you saying that he hasn't crossed the line before? I'm curious to know, if you don't think that the president's actions throughout the last four years have ever crossed the line or merited, perhaps, some Republicans inside of the party to say, you know what, the actions of this president are not beneficial to our democracy, to our country, and they're not-- they're not helpful to our party, I'm wondering how dangerous you view Trumpism, how dangerous you view President Donald Trump to the Republican Party going forward. Republicans have lost the House. They've lost the Senate. And they've lost the presidency.

OLIVIA TROYE: I think that's a question for the Republicans that are still in office, right, and the people at the top of the leadership. Certainly I-- President Trump, from his campaign rhetoric, I would say, from day one was dangerous to this country-- the way he talked about immigrants, the way he talked about Mexicans. Keep in mind I am a Mexican-American myself.

And so watching him for the past four years and watching the administration's policies that were, obviously, corrosive to our democracy, I certainly stand against all of those. And that's a big reason why I gave up almost 20 years of being a career intelligence officer and came forward and spoke out, especially on a pandemic that was raging. And so we're not--

KRISTIN MYERS: So on--

OLIVIA TROYE: --actually, we're not excusing any of the behavior of any of the Republicans that stood by. But what we're saying is at this moment, we want you to take a stand.

KRISTIN MYERS: So I'm going to ask you a question that I think a lot of folks are wondering, especially as we see several administration officials resigning recently. We had education Secretary Betsy DeVos resign. We had Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resign.

You were a part of the administration until fairly recently, August 2020. You served under Vice President Pence for two years as his aide. You were working at the Department of Homeland Security for two years prior to that. If you knew he was dangerous on day one, why did you stay for almost the entirety that President Trump was in office? When you talk about now is the time to stand up, do you at all-- as you talk about enablers in office, do you ever view yourself, any of your colleagues, perhaps, as enabling some of the dangerous things that you say that the president has been saying, some of the dangerous actions that you say the president has been doing over the course of the last four years?

OLIVIA TROYE: Well, I think the thing about that is that if there hadn't been people like me who had been career professionals in the room at times, things could have been that much worse. And I will say that I say this because I was there the day the travel ban launched, as it's called. And I can tell you that there was an entire group of career professionals who were dealt this hand, because when you serve in the government, you're given executive orders by whoever is in office.

I worked under President Obama. I worked under President Bush. And what you're told is to implement them. And you try to figure out the best way and the safest way, I would say in this situation, to cause the least harm to national security. And you try to do that.

And that is a debate I had in my head, honestly, every single day, is are you enabling or are you trying to do what's right? And is it worse if you leave because who comes after you? And so I think it's a personal choice. I think it's different for everybody.

I can tell you I've certainly sat on that COVID task force as well, saw these doctors struggle. We certainly faced some enormous obstacles, I would say. But when I left, I really actually sat and said what happens to the relationship I have with CDC? Who comes after me? Will they care? Will they do worse things?

And so I think that that is something that, unfortunately, people inside the administration who were working in this operation had to really kind of navigate every single day. And look, I have owned it. Am I complicit at times? Absolutely. You cannot work in this environment and have to give sometimes.

But at some point, you do. I had to lie for myself. And the fact that thousands of people I knew were going to continue to die and be hurt when I saw what was happening with the messaging and the downplaying of the pandemic, you have to walk away. And that is why every day I have fought to try to make a difference and try to push back on this, because I realized that four more years of Trump, it wasn't going to be America the way we knew it.

It isn't today. I mean, we're watching this play out. And this man is no longer going to be in office. And I hope he gets impeached. And I will do my best to support whatever the new incoming administration does.

But I will say that this is why this man deserves to be impeached. Again, he deserves to be removed from office. And I hope that he is never given the opportunity to come back and serve in this type of role ever again.

KRISTIN MYERS: No, Olivia, I know that what you're saying is something that a lot of your current and former colleagues have mentioned over the last couple of weeks. I will say, however, that I think the America that we've been seeing, a lot of folks would say, is the America that we've had really since its beginning. Olivia Troye, Republican Accountability Project co-director, former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, we'll have to see if your financial incentives sway any of the Republicans on the Hill to vote to impeach the president. Thanks for joining us today.

OLIVIA TROYE: Thanks for having me.