A spokesman for former President Donald Trump has denied that he tried to dispose of White House documents by flushing them down toilets after Axios published two images of paper allegedly bearing Trump’s handwriting at the bottom of commodes.
“You have to be pretty desperate to sell books if pictures of paper in a toilet bowl is part of your promotional plan,” Taylor Budowich told the site, which published the images after they were obtained by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman ahead of the October publication of her book “Confidence Man.”
Budowich then added that “there’s enough people willing to fabricate stories like this in order to impress the media class — a media class who is willing to run with anything, as long as it anti-Trump.”
One photo, purportedly taken in the White House, shows a ripped note with the word “where” written on it at the bottom of a toilet.
The second photo, which was allegedly taken while Trump was on an overseas trip, featured a torn piece of paper bearing the names “Rogers” and “Stefanik” – presumably referring to upstate Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) – in the toilet.
Haberman, who initially reported that Trump liked flushing his notes in February of this year, stood by her reporting during an appearance on CNN Monday.
“People are going to make all kinds of jokes about toilets and so forth,” she said. “It would still be a story if it was a fireplace. And the point is about the destruction of records which are supposed to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act, which is a Watergate-era creation.”
“We knew that Trump had a habit of ripping up paper and that people had to tape it back together,” Haberman added. ” … And so what was happening was White House residence staff were finding pipes were clogged with paper that they believed he had flushed … I’d had additional reporting afterwards from people confirming that Trump had indeed done this and that it happened on at least two foreign trips and in the White House throughout his presidency.”
“Again, it’s important because who knows what this paper was. Only he would know and presumably whoever was dealing with it. But the important point is about the records.”
The former president swiftly blasted the accusation back in February, calling it “another fake story,” “categorically untrue,” and “simply made up” by Haberman to distract Americans from “how horribly our Country is doing under the Biden Administration.”
Since leaving office, several reports have depicted Trump as a notorious destroyer of records – sensitive or not.
CNN reported Monday that Trump would instruct aides to carry boxes of unread memoirs, articles, and potential tweets aboard Air Force One, which he would then review and tear up.
One former senior administration official told the outlet that a deputy from the Office of Staff Secretary would pull things out of Trump’s trash or remove items from his desk after the president left the room to comply with federal recordkeeping laws.
Trump has also been accused of keeping boxes of White House documents — some of which contained classified material — at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
The National Archives retrieved the boxes in January.
That caught the attention of the House Oversight Committee, which quickly launched an investigation into what it called “Potential Serious Violations” of the Presidential Records Act of 1978.
Federal investigators have also reportedly issued a subpoena for the documents as part of their own investigation into the matter.