All of the clerks and all of their men needed Scotch tape to put Chuck Schumer back together again.
That variant on the nursery rhyme “Humpty Dumpty” sums up recent comments from Solomon Lartey, who worked in records management at the White House until being fired this spring.
Lartey spoke to Politico about his experiences with President Donald Trump, whose respect for pieces of paper is often minimal.
“I had a letter from Schumer — he tore it up,” Lartey said. “It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces.”
It was unclear which letter from the New York Democrat was torn apart by the president. As the Senate minority leader, Schumer and Trump have been at odds frequently since Trump came to the White House.
Lartey said he and his staff were zealous in their efforts to meet the legal requirements of the Presidential Records Act, which mandates that all White House documents be preserved.
“We got Scotch tape, the clear kind,” Lartey noted. “You found pieces and taped them back together and then you gave it back to the supervisor.”
He said the task was akin to putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
The repaired documents were then sent to the National Archives, he said.
33 paragraphs from @politico crying about Trump ripping up a letter from Schumer.
And the ‘elite media’ can’t understand why Americans think they’re a joke. https://t.co/4pUkN0a6pR
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) June 11, 2018
One member of the department, who has also been fired, told Politico nothing of the like ever took place in his 20-plus years with the government.
“We had to endure this under the Trump administration,” Reginald Young Jr. 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.”
The story quoted sources it did not name as saying that Trump’s approach to the Schumer letter was not unique — that the president came into office with the habit of destroying pieces of paper he felt were worthless and that it has been an uphill battle for his staff to get him to allow them to be preserved for the archives.
Adhering to the terms of the Presidential Records Act has been a challenge for the fast-moving Trump presidency, especially when considering the president’s penchant for revising and deleting tweets.
In response to questions about compliance, White House spokeswoman Kelly Love told CNN, “We have systems in place to capture all tweets and preserve them as presidential records; even if they have been deleted.”
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