President Donald Trump likes to rip up papers once he’s done with them. It’s a habit he apparently took to the White House from his days running a private company and he just can’t shake it. Problem is, under the Presidential Records Act, the White House is under legal obligation to save pretty much every piece of paper the president touches while in office. So once staffers realized they weren’t going to be able to break his habit they chose to work around it. How? By having government workers put together the ripped pieces of paper with the help of rolls of tape, reveals Politico, which talked to two career government officials who were tasked with the thankless assignment before they were unceremoniously fired earlier this year.
“We got Scotch tape, the clear kind,” Solomon Lartey, who earned an annual salary of almost $66,000 a year told Politico. “You found pieces and taped them back together and then you gave it back to the supervisor.” The ripped up papers he put back together included everything from newspaper clippings to invitations to letters. Lartey once put together a letter from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces.”
Lartey and his colleague, Reginald Young, Jr., said they had never seen anything else like it and were shocked that two people in their senior positions were being tasked with “the lowest form of work you can take on without having to empty the trash cans,” as Young put it. Unsurprisingly, things were very different under Barack Obama, whose administration meticulously saved everything.
Both Lartey and Young were abruptly fired in the spring without an explanation.