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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 TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE spent nearly an hour during one meeting talking about Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonCan the GOP break its addiction to show biz? Fox's Brit Hume rips 'radioactive' Trump: 'Utter balderdash' was fed 'into the veins of his supporters' Glenn Beck compares tech's ban on Trump to Nazis putting 'Jews behind the wall' 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 BidenJoe BidenFear of insider attack prompts additional FBI screening of National Guard troops: AP Iran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries MORE 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 IngrahamFox News to revamp daytime programming, replace 7 pm news hour with opinion show Sacking the Capitol proves free speech is in trouble FBI: No evidence antifa involved in Capitol riot MORE, and Trump's personal friend Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityAlmost 7 in 10 oppose Trump pardoning himself: poll Can the GOP break its addiction to show biz? Prosecutors say man who brought weapons to Capitol carried list of 'good guys' and 'bad guys' 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 BrazileHarris selects Tina Flournoy as chief of staff: report Biden takes steps toward creating diverse Cabinet Donna Brazile emotional about Harris vice presidency: 'Grateful this moment has come' MORE, Niel Cavuto, and many others.”