Trump's habit of ripping up documents a headache for record-keepers

Clay Curtis
June 14, 2018

According to them, no one can convince trump to abandon this habit. And so the people tasked with preserving presidential papers must collect the scraps and put them back together.

"He ripped papers into tiny pieces", said Solomon Lartey, a former White House records management employee. "We used to have to piece together all of these torn papers, and we weren't supposed to tell anybody".

United States government officials have been employed to tape together documents routinely ripped up by President Donald Trump, as tearing them into pieces is his habitual way of disposing with correspondence.

Under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, the White House is required to keep presidential papers for security and historical purposes. But White House aides had a hard time convincing Trump to ditch the habit, so they improvised. They served as records management analysts.

Lartey and Young said the practice was still going on this spring, when they were abruptly fired from their jobs with no explanation. And they got this story instead, with an aside about their being fired dutifully recorded near the end of the piece.

Lisa Brown, former President Barack Obama's first staff secretary, recalls the Obama administration enforcing a structured paperwork process, a system that sounds miles apart to Trump's, as described by Lartey and Young Jr.

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"We had to endure this under the Trump administration", Young told Politico.

"I had a letter from Schumer - he tore it up", Mr Lartey said.

According to Politico, White House staffers had the torn documents collected from the Oval office and the president's residence and then turned them over to records management to be reassembled "like a jigsaw". "I never remember the president throwing any official paper away". "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".

"That is a million-dollar question that I have yet to get an answer to", Young said.

'It felt like the lowest form of work you can take on without having to empty the trash cans'.

But it has led to experienced officials with significant salaries sorting through piles of notes and taping them up, Politico reported.

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