Donald Trump was largely unconcerned about whether his White House staff followed standard protocols or whether he often deviated from the rules himself, his former press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said Saturday.
Amid outrage over the former president’s handling of some executive branch documents, including reports of torn documents and alleged flushing of pages down the toilet, Grisham suggested to The Washington Post that Trump has spawned an office culture that largely flouted rules. and procedures.
“He rolled his eyes at the rules, and so did we,” Grisham said.
“We shouldn’t have a problem because he’s the President of the United States.”
The former White House employee recalled one time when she approached Trump with concerns about a possible violation of the Hatch Act.
The 1939 law prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities or using their state platforms to do so.
But she said Trump didn’t care.
“Who is in charge of the Hatch Law? It’s me. So say whatever you want,” Grisham said, Trump told her.
Grisham (right) detailed the Washington Post about the Trump White House’s alleged disregard for rules and protocol amid a storm of controversy over the former president’s handling of official documents.
Multiple reports indicate that Trump had a habit of tearing and throwing away White House documents while his aides struggled to find and send them to the White House Records Office to be glued together and stored.
The Post also reported last week that Trump took 15 boxes of documents with him to Mar-a-Lago when he left Washington, some of them even labeled “secret” and “top secret.”
Since 2018, reports have indicated that Trump tore up presidential papers and even “ate” them, according to former Omarosa aide Manigault Newman’s memoir from that year.
More recently, an upcoming novel by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman claims that staff often found pages littering the White House toilets, leading them to believe that Trump was trying to flush the documents.
Earlier this month, the National Archives said some documents received from Trump were torn apart and needed to be reconstructed.
Last week, the National Archives asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Trump violated the Presidential Records Act, which requires every White House to preserve documents and memorabilia as the property of the American people.
Congress announced last week that it would investigate Trump’s handling of his presidential records.
Trump denied the allegations in a lengthy statement Thursday, calling it “another fake story” that was “made up by a reporter to draw public attention to a fictitious book.”
The former aides detailed a near-methodical approach to destroying presidential materials, according to a Post report Saturday.
He reportedly tore the paper into four pieces with two large “clean” tears, several assistants recalled, only to scatter the rest on tables, the floor, or a trash can.
Unnamed employees also claimed that he would take large caches of documents to the White House private residence, only to be picked up after they piled up.
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s upcoming book, The Confident Man, details how the papers washed away after reports surfaced that Trump had torn, burned and withheld official documents that needed to be preserved and turned over to the National Archives and documentation (NARA) at the end of his presidential term. presidency
A Trump spokesman said in a statement to the Post, “This failed media attempt to distort history, along with the help of anonymous sources, is just another sensational distraction from an otherwise unprecedented attempt to preserve President Trump’s legacy and good faith efforts to enforce the Presidential Records Act.” “.
“Unfortunately, the ‘news’ business has become dependent on yet another Trump-manufactured ‘investigation’, and here we are. It’s a shame.
Trump himself released a statement debunking the allegations and saying his conversation with the National Archives was “joint and respectful.”
The former president also wondered why his handling of documents was being investigated when his rival Hillary Clinton was not forced to hand over her 32,000 emails.
“I was told that I am not required to provide this material based on various court decisions over the years,” Trump said Thursday.
“The fraudulent Hillary Clinton, for example, deleted and acid-washed 32,000 emails and never turned them over to the government,” he added. “Then a large amount of furniture was taken out of the White House. And Bill Clinton had a lot of audio recordings that they wanted to get in the archives, but could not get after going to court. We won’t even mention what’s going on with the White House in the current or various previous administrations.”
“In the United States, unfortunately, there are two legal standards, one for Republicans and one for Democrats. It shouldn’t be like that!