Donald Trump’s habit of tearing up official documents has come into focus in recent weeks as some of the material the Jan. 6 committee received from the National Archives had reportedly been ripped into pieces and taped back together.
It turns out that not everything the former president tore apart was made whole again by aides. In her new book Confidence Man, Maggie Haberman of The New York Times writes that White House staff periodically found Trump’s toilet clogged with wads of paper, according to Axios. The staff believed it was Trump who tore up the paper, Haberman writes.
Trump on Thursday denied he tried to flush paper down the White House toilet, writing in a statement that Haberman’s story is “categorically untrue and simply made up,” and that the idea that he clogged his toilet is part of a Democratic scheme to distract from “how horribly our Country is doing under the Biden Administration.”
Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg added that had also been told Trump’s toilet had been clogged with paper, and that it was believed it was Trump who did the clogging.
Trump is denying he flushed documents down a White House toilet, but @maggieNYT’s reporting is 100% accurate. Staff did find clumped/torn/shredded papers and fished them out from blocked bathroom toilet—and believed it had been the president’s doing, sources told me at the time. pic.twitter.com/R1zxqX85lK
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) February 10, 2022
It’s probably a safe bet that the former president was indeed the perpetrator. The Washington Post reported over the weekend on Trump’s habit of tearing up documents despite the protestations of aides, throwing them everywhere from across the Oval Office desk to the floor of Air Force One. Sometimes he’d tear documents into pieces as small as confetti, the Post reported. “He didn’t want a record of anything,” a former senior Trump official told the outlet. “He never stopped ripping things up. Do you really think Trump is going to care about the Records Act? Come on.”
Trump’s disrespect for the Presidential Records Act extends beyond tearing up said presidential records. The Post reported earlier this week that the National Archives had to retrieve boxes of White House documents Trump had improperly taken with him to Mar-a-Lago, including “love letters” he exchanged with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The National Archives confirmed they had retrieved the material from the former president’s Palm Beach estate, noting that it had to recover “15 boxes that contained Presidential records.”
The Times reported on Wednesday that some of the documents Trump was hoarding at Mar-a-Lago may have been more sensitive than his flirtations with murderous autocrats. A source familiar with the matter told the paper that the Archives found what it believed to be classified material among the documents the former president took from the White House. The discovery prompted the Archives to reach out to the Justice Department. The Post reported on Wednesday that discussions between the Archives and the Justice Department “remained preliminary.”
The Archives may now have its hands on the documents Trump took to Florida, but whatever he was trying to flush down the toilet in the White House residence will remain a mystery. The revelation does, however, add a new dimension to Trump’s prolonged crusade to increase the flushing power of the nation’s toilets. “People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once,” he railed at a particularly memorable 2019 rant on the subject. “They end up using more water. So EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion.”
This post has been updated.