By now we’ve all grown accustomed to reports that our president behaves like a toddler. These alleged habits range from stupid and amusing (Trump gets two scoops) to stupid and frightening (cable-news chyrons in his briefing book). Now there’s a new variety: stupid and expensive.
Politico reports that Trump usually rips up papers when he’s done with them, and tosses them in the trash or on the floor — a process some people described as his “filing system.” This does not jibe with the Presidential Records Act, which stipulates that basically every piece of paper the president touches must be shipped off to the National Archives to be preserved for posterity. But instead of saying, “Mr. President, you need to stop tearing up these documents because it’s illegal, and also deeply weird,” White House staffers decided it was easier to collect the scraps of paper and have a whole team of government employees tape them back together.
Solomon Lartey, a career records-management analyst who earned $65,969 a year, described the process to Politico:
Staffers had the fragments of paper collected from the Oval Office as well as the private residence and send it over to records management across the street from the White House for Larkey and his colleagues to reassemble [sic].
“We got Scotch tape, the clear kind,” Lartey recalled in an interview. “You found pieces and taped them back together and then you gave it back to the supervisor.” The restored papers would then be sent to the National Archives to be properly filed away.
Lartey said he spent the first five months of the Trump administration standing over a desk in the Old Executive Office Building, trying to piece Trump’s papers back together. One of his colleagues, Reginald Young Jr., confirmed that he and other career government officials were given this task. Lartey and Young said the practice was still going on this spring, when they were abruptly fired from their jobs with no explanation.
If Trump and his new pal Scott Pruitt ever get tired of bashing Jeff Sessions, they can trade tips on utterly frivolous ways to waste taxpayer money and torture underlings.