“Trump’s shredding of paper in the White House was far more widespread and indiscriminate than previously known and—despite multiple admonishments—extended throughout his presidency.” — Washington Post
We’ve been getting a lot of blowback for how we managed White House documents during Trump’s presidency. I’m a former White House aide, and I want to explain the totally normal and perfectly legal ways we preserved these historic and confidential records. I’m also hoping to generate some buzz for my upcoming tell-all book, but that’s unrelated.
We started our alternative bookkeeping by simply tearing documents into smaller and smaller pieces, which made it easier to both store and, in cases of extreme duress, ingest. To honor our inner child, we’d sometimes cut the docs into strips and staple them into paper chain links to decorate the West Wing.
Now, the burn bags are being blown way out of proportion. Think of it this way: your beloved grandmother’s ashes are kept in a porcelain urn on your bookshelf, so why can’t random scraps of paper from the president’s desk be stuffed into a reusable fabric Target bag and scorched to smithereens?
And the whole toilet thing? We weren’t flushing documents down the toilet; we were funneling them into a secure filing system in the hydrochamber of secrets. Plus, if we really needed the documents back for a FOIA request, we had an intern on standby with a Dyson supersonic hair dryer fired up and ready to go.
As I exclusively cover in my book, we also buried a tranche of documents in the White House lawn. You know how on CSI: Miami they were always finding bodies under freshly poured concrete? It was like that, except it was President Trump’s call logs with Ukraine wrapped up in a tarp six feet under the new tennis courts.
We also stored some draft executive orders in the backroom of a suburban Paper Source. No one has ever asked if there was more paper in the back of a Paper Source, so it seemed like a clever place to abandon a heap of classified communications from January 6th, 2021. Sadly, that Paper Source burned down. This was due to faulty wiring and shelves chock full of flammable materials, but boy was it convenient for us.
A lot of fast food means a lot of wasted plastic utensils and napkins. So when we brought in Big Macs and Happy Meals for the Clemson Tigers, we went green by repurposing some old White House expense reports for those greasy linebacker fingers.
We often stashed confidential cables from foreign dignitaries in the White House Bunker among rows of Melania’s bloody nightmare Christmas trees, alternate electors from Arizona, and the lawnmower. Kids love that thing!
You guys spent a lot of time complaining about how the Trumps didn’t have any White House pets, but the family actually reared fourteen different hamsters throughout his presidency. Cage shavings are expensive! Jared Kushner’s torn-up security clearance background check paperwork was a good, cheap alternative.
Before looping Alabama into Hurricane Dorian’s path, we tested out Trump’s Sharpies by blacking out dates and names in the White House visitor logs. We then put those logs through a shredder for good measure. Some documents required many preservation tactics to “finish the job.”
We also launched a couple stuffed filing cabinets into space via a billion-dollar SpaceX expedition, tied memos to stray dogs with twine, and carted a bunch of records down to Mar-a-Lago and put them in the same vault where the pee tape is stored.
Listen, judge our methods if you like, but at the end of the day, we were pseudo-compliant (if it suited us) when required by court order to turn over documents. All those tidbits and more will be fleshed out in my book, Shred White and Blue, which you can preorder on Kindle Unlimited.