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Ex-Pence aide: Trump spent 45 minutes of task force meeting 'going off on Tucker Carlson' instead of talking coronavirus

A former aide to Vice President Pence who served on the White House coronavirus task force alleges President TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE spent nearly an hour during one meeting talking about Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonOvernight Health Care: Biden announces 1M have enrolled in special ObamaCare sign-up period | Rand Paul clashes with Fauci over coronavirus origins | Biden vows to get 'more aggressive' on lifestyle benefits of vaccines McCarthy rental from Luntz violated condo rules: Washington Post Tucker Carlson's show does dramatic reading of Stacey Abrams romance novel MORE instead of discussing agenda items set for the meeting. 

"He watches people, he watches the news," said Olivia Troye, a former adviser to Pence for Homeland Security. "We have been in meetings where we were supposed to be talking about the virus ... and he wanted to talk for 45 minutes on how upset he was with some news anchor at his preferred news network." 

Troye alleges that during the meeting, which took place during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic as the task force debated how to safely get Americans off cruise ships as the virus spread, Trump looked around a room full of advisers and asked: "Who's gonna call this person and set them straight?" 

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Troye described an awkward and uncomfortable feeling in the room at that moment, with other advisers and aides avoiding eye contact with one another and not saying anything. 

"45 minutes of going off on Tucker Carlson ... seriously, this went on for 45 minutes," she added. 

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Troye made headlines earlier this week when she announced she would support Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden and accused Trump of being flippant toward human life as the virus spread across the country. 

"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," Troye said in an advertisement for the political action group Republican Voters Against Trump.

On Thursday, Pence described Troye as a "disgruntled" former employee. 

“I haven't read her comments in any detail. But, it reads to me like one more disgruntled employee that has decided to play politics during an election year,” Pence said. “My staff has indicated and she made no comments like that when she was serving under our team here at the White House.”

Trump frequently tweets about cable news ratings and praised Fox News's prime-time lineup which features Carlson, Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamOfficer who responded to Capitol mob urges leaders to recognize 'courage' of law enforcement Officer who suffered heart attack on Jan. 6 knocks 'dangerous' Trump comments Sellers responds to Ingraham's 'accent' remark MORE, and Trump's personal friend Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityJenner says she didn't vote in 2020: 'I just couldn't get excited about it' White House says Biden won't 'underestimate Trump' if he runs in 2024 McConnell safe in power, despite Trump's wrath MORE

However, he has complained in recent months that some of Fox News's coverage of his administration has not been fair. 

“Many will disagree, but @FoxNews is doing nothing to help Republicans, and me, get re-elected on November 3rd,” he tweeted earlier this year. “Sure, there are some truly GREAT people on Fox, but you also have some real ‘garbage’ littered all over the network, people like Dummy Juan Williams, Schumerite Chris…Hahn, Richard Goodstein, Donna BrazileDonna Lease BrazileHow President Biden can hit a home run Scalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration Harris selects Tina Flournoy as chief of staff: report MORE, Niel Cavuto, and many others.”