"He Never Stopped Ripping Things Up": Trump's Habitual Document DestructionBreaking News
tags: National Archives, Donald Trump, public records, Presidential Records Act
President Donald Trump tore up briefings and schedules, articles and letters, memos both sensitive and mundane.
He ripped paper into quarters with two big, clean strokes — or occasionally more vigorously, into smaller scraps.
He left the detritus on his desk in the Oval Office, in the trash can of his private West Wing study and on the floor aboard Air Force One, among many other places.
And he did it all in violation of the Presidential Records Act, despite being urged by at least two chiefs of staff and the White House counsel to follow the law on preserving documents.
“It is absolutely a violation of the act,” said Courtney Chartier, president of the Society of American Archivists. “There is no ignorance of these laws. There are White House manuals about the maintenance of these records.”
Although glimpses of Trump’s penchant for ripping were reported earlier in his presidency — by Politico in 2018 — the House select committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection has shined a new spotlight on the practice. The Washington Post reported that some of the White House records the National Archives and Records Administration turned over to the committee appeared to have been torn apart and then taped back together.