Trump keeps ripping up papers that need to be preserved
And a team of archivists has been taping them back together. "The lowest form of work you can take on without having to empty the trash cans," said one.
Future historians will note this was the first presidency to be held together by Scotch tape.
President Trump keeps tearing up papers that are required by law to be preserved, a new report says.
Under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, the White House is required to keep presidential papers for security and historical purposes. (It was enacted because of — wait for it — Watergate.) But White House aides have had a difficult time impressing this upon President Trump, who habitually rips papers up and routinely throws them, confetti-like, in the trash or on the floor, reports Politico.
Eventually, Trump's staff just gave up, and two records-management analysts from the National Archives were enlisted to tape together the papers Trump had shredded. White House aides would collect the fragments and send them next door to the Old Executive Office Building, where the piecework would begin, "like a jigsaw puzzle." The taped-up papers would then be filed in the National Archives.
This is coming to light because two men who worked on the taping — Solomon Lartey and Reginald Young Jr. — were abruptly fired without explanation, and they want one, says Politico.
Young, a senior records management analyst, said he never had been asked to do anything like it in nearly two decades of government service. “We had to endure this under the Trump administration,” Young said. “I’m looking at my director, and saying, ‘Are you guys serious?’ We’re making more than $60,000 a year, we need to be doing far more important things than this. It felt like the lowest form of work you can take on without having to empty the trash cans.”
Lartey and Young weren't the only ones — their whole department was assigned to the task. Lartey, who had nearly 30 years of experience and made $65,000 a year, said the papers they would receive included notated newspaper clippings and letters from members of Congress. "I had a letter from [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer — he tore it up,” he said. “It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces.”
By contrast, President Obama's first staff secretary said he never tossed any papers, which were preserved in a meticulous filing system. "All of the official paper that went into [the Oval Office], came back out again, to the best of my knowledge," Lisa Brown told Politico. "I never remember the president throwing any official paper away."
Trump, however, manually shreds anything he is done with — sometimes in half, sometimes into tiny bits, the site says.