“It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces.”
President Donald Trump rips up papers after he reads them in apparent disregard of US law, according to a Politico report published Sunday.
White House aides were unable to deter Trump from shredding documents with his hands and throwing them in the trash or on the floor, people familiar with the practice said. So they instead retrieved the papers and put them back together with Scotch tape to prevent the president from violating the law.
“I had a letter from Schumer — he tore it up,” a former records management analyst named Solomon Lartey told Politico, referring to top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York. “It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces.”
Lartey said his entire department was dedicated to taping paper back together in the opening months of the Trump administration.
The White House did not comment for the Politico article. But Trump has flouted many time-honored presidential traditions, including by skipping the White House Correspondents' Dinner to attacking his political critics on Twitter.
Under the Presidential Records Act, the White House must preserve every papers the president touches -- including memos, letters, and emails -- and send them to the National Archives to be preserved for history.
In contrast to Trump's practice, the Obama administration had a system in place to handle documents as mandated by law.
“I never remember the president throwing any official paper away," said Lisa Brown, who served as President Barack Obama’s first staff secretary. "It was a really structured process.”