Archives pushes back on Trump claims that other presidents mishandled records
The National Archives, without naming former President Trump, pushed back Tuesday on claims he made over the weekend that other past presidents had mishandled their White House records with the help of the agency.
Trump had previously claimed his predecessor, former President Obama, had mishandled his own records but expanded that claim during rallies in Arizona and New Mexico to include several prior presidents, including Republicans.
At one point Trump even claimed, without evidence, that records from President George H.W. Bush’s administration were stored in a Chinese restaurant and a bowling alley “with no security and a broken front door.”
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) said Tuesday that while records are transported to presidents’ libraries, any temporary storage has “met strict archival and security standards, and have been managed and staffed exclusively by NARA employees.” It added that any insinuations that records were stored in substandard conditions “are false and misleading.”
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At another point during the rallies, Trump also accused former President Clinton of losing nuclear codes and keeping classified recordings in his sock. While Clinton did store some tapes in his sock drawer while serving as president, he did not leave office with the recordings in tow.
The statement from the Archives is the second in less than a month to address how it handles records as Trump makes a number of false claims about other presidents’ handling of records amid legal trouble of his own.
During an Aug. 8 search of his Mar-a-Lago home, the FBI seized more than 100 classified records stored there along with more than 10,000 government records.
The Archives noted that other presidents have not taken records but rather coordinated with the agency to have relevant materials transported to their presidential libraries.
“The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), in accordance with the Presidential Records Act, assumed physical and legal custody of the Presidential records from the administrations of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, when those Presidents left office,” the agency said Tuesday.
“NARA securely moved these records to temporary facilities that NARA leased from the General Services Administration (GSA), near the locations of the future Presidential Libraries that former Presidents built for NARA,” it added.
The Archives in September similarly explained the process for transporting Obama’s records following accusations from Trump that they were mishandled.