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Former White House Aide Describes Restoring Torn Up Documents

President Donald Trump shows off his signature on an executive order about the Dakota Access pipeline, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
President Donald Trump shows off his signature on an executive order about the Dakota Access pipeline, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)

For close to three decades, Solomon Lartey worked in the White House's Office of Records Management as a records management analyst. One of his responsibilities involved taping scraps of paper — that had been torn apart — back together for posterity. Here are some highlights from Lartey's conversation with On Point guest host David Folkenflik:

Highlights:

On what documents he worked on preserving: 

"We were taping back letters, memos, newspaper articles that were sent to the president, some were negative. Maybe some [were] positive. That was our daily task at the beginning of the administration. If it was something he [Trump] didn't like, he tore it up. And we were asked by the staff secretary to tape them up, because they knew they were for records — everything is a presidential record in the White House. Anything that comes in is a presidential record, and you have to keep it for future reference and for the library.

Related audio

[Trump] and [Chuck] Schumer were having a disagreement. Anything — an article, or a memo, or any kind of negative... something that he didn't like — that he'd read it, and he would just shred it up, tear it up. And somehow, somebody over in the West Wing knew that you're not supposed to do this at all."

"If it was something he [Trump] didn't like, he tore it up. And we were asked by the staff secretary to tape them up, because they knew they were for records."

Solomon Lartey

On the importance of keeping the documents preserved: 

"It's very important. Because everything's a record. Some things — if you wrote a letter, David, you would say, 'Hey, let me see this letter I wrote to President Trump in June of 2018' — and it's in there. You would go to his library and you would see the letter that you wrote to him. And a lot of people like that. We used to get constant letters from the public, just anything. And it has to be preserved."

On when he was told that his services were no longer required: 

"Nobody has contacted us. We were walked out and we got to the gate on Pennsylvania Avenue and they took our badges, and that was it. That was my 30-year career in the government, gone. Just like that, and with no explanation."

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