Political News

Ex-WH aides describe 'adult puzzle' of taping up Trump's torn-up documents

Posted June 12, 2018 8:13 a.m. EDT

— Two former White House records management analysts tasked with piecing together the letters, memos and news articles President Donald Trump torn to shreds likened the process to an "adult puzzle."

"In the beginning of the administration, after the transition period, we would get torn-up documents, letters and memos ... and we would have to tape them back together for records," Solomon Lartey said in an interview Tuesday on CNN's "New Day."

CNN reported Monday that Trump has a habit of ripping up memos and documents that should be preserved under the Presidential Records Act.

Lartey, his colleague Reginald Young Jr., a senior records management analyst, and other staffers in the records department would have to take pieces of paper of all different sizes sent from the White House and painstakingly tape them together.

Lartey told "New Day" that he and other staffers thought the assignment was a joke at first.

"This is an adult puzzle for us, you know," Lartey said. "I hadn't messed with a puzzle in years."

Young recalled to CNN, "We put the contents on the desk and we literally had to spend hours per day piecing together the puzzle prior to taping them."

The White House has not responded to CNN's request for comment about the practice. One former administration official told CNN that the President likely ripped up the documents out of "habit" more than anything else.

Young said Tuesday he can't speak as to why Trump was tearing up official documents but said he had posed questions to his immediate supervisor "for her to challenge our director to the validity of us doing this type of work."

"Our jobs are to generally do things that are more important, especially for the salary that they're paying us," Young said on "New Day."

Lartey and Young, who worked for the government for decades, said they both have not received explanations for why they were abruptly dismissed from their jobs.

"That is a million-dollar question that I have yet to get an answer to," Young said.

He continued, "We were told we were at-will employees and we served at the pleasure of the President and that we can be removed at any time of their discretion."