Mark Meadows, a former White House chief of staff, compared former President Donald Trump flushing documents down a toilet to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ripping up a copy of the State of the Union speech in 2020.
Meadows spoke to Newsmax on Thursday about claims in a new book that White House staff would sometimes find papers clogging a toilet and believed that the former president was responsible.
The claims about papers in a toilet came after the National Archives retrieved documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, reportedly including so-called “love letters” from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Meadows appeared to dispute the clams about documents in a toilet and defended the handling of records during the Trump administration.
Meadows told Newsmax’s Rob Schmitt: “When the staff secretary prepares documents, actually those documents got reviewed in the West Wing, they got signed in the West Wing,” Meadows said.
“The staff secretary was very diligent in making sure that those documents were preserved for the federal records,” he said. “To suggest that somehow now that this should be news is just hard to imagine.”
Meadows acknowledged the importance of the Presidential Records Act, telling Schmitt the law is “an important part of who we are and it’s something that we ought to take seriously.”
He then appeared to address longstanding reports that Trump had ripped up some documents while in the White House that later had to be put back together by staffers.
“When we start talking about this was ripped up, it was taped back together – obviously that was preserved – it’s supposed to show some nefarious purpose but yet they will ignore Nancy Pelosi ripping something up on national TV behind the president,” Meadows said.
“Those documents, I can tell you we couldn’t find those either and yet, somehow, she got a pass,” he said.
Meadows dismissed any comparison between claims about Trump’s documents and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s emails.
“We were very diligent in making sure that we preserved those documents, and ultimately I think the record will show that,” he said.
Following Trump’s State of the Union address in 2020, Pelosi ripped up her copy of the speech and later called it a “manifesto of mistruths.” Republicans strongly criticized Pelosi for her actions.
Claims about Trump disposing of documents in a White House toilet come from The New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman‘s new book, Confidence Man.
Disposing of Documents
Haberman told CNN on Thursday morning: “I learned that staff in the White House residence would periodically find the toilet clogged.”
“The engineer would have to come and fix it and what the engineer would find would be wads of clumped up wet, printed paper – meaning it was not toilet paper,” she said.
Trump denied the claim when it was originally reported earlier this week, saying in a statement: “Another fake story, that I flushed papers and documents down a White House toilet, is categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book.”
Newsweek has asked Nancy Pelosi’s office for comment.