““Also, 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.” ”
That was former President Donald Trump in a lengthy statement released on Thursday. He was refuting the report in an upcoming White House tell-all book that his staff believed that the commander-in-chief periodically clogged the commode by flushing official documents down the toilet.
Axios reported that an excerpt of New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman’s forthcoming book, “Confidence Man,” cites White House residence workers who said they found wads of printed paper clogging the toilet while Trump was in office, which they believed came from the president flushing documents. The author tweeted the report, as well.
Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs backed up Haberman’s reporting as “100% accurate.” She said that sources also told her that White House workers fished “clumped/torn/shredded papers” from a blocked bathroom toilet, which they believed had been placed there by the president.
These accusations come just days after the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) confirmed that it retrieved 15 boxes of documents from Donald Trump’s Florida residence at Mar-a-Lago last month. This has raised questions about the former president’s compliance with the Presidential Records Act, which requires that records are turned over to the Archives at the end of a presidential administration. The New York Times reported that the Archives officials found possible classified material in the returned boxes.
Read more: National Archives says it seized 15 boxes of White House documents from Trump residence in Florida
But while the former president became the butt of many jokes on social media over the toilet allegations on Thursday, Haberman also received plenty of backlash online. The name “Maggie Haberman” was trending on Twitter on Thursday, along with fellow journalist/author Bob Woodward, as readers discussed why these writers didn’t disclose the information they had reported about the Trump administration sooner. Both would later publish their findings in books, instead.
“I’m sorry, but was the NY Times paying Maggie Haberman to report the news or to sit on juicy stories so she could get a lucrative book deal?” tweeted Jon Cooper, majority leader of the Suffolk County legislature on Long Island.
“Serious question, how does the NYT determine what they are going to print as important news, versus what they allow their reporters to hide so they can have little tidbits to help sell their books?” asked writer/activist Amy Siskind.
“Toiletgate” continued to swirl the day after the Washington Post reported that the National Archives has asked the Justice Department to investigate how the former president handled White House records, which has reportedly sparked discussions among federal law enforcement officials about whether they should investigate Trump for a possible crime.
Trump responded to these reports in his Thursday statement, saying that the NARA “openly and willingly arranged with President Trump for the transport of boxes that contained letters, records, newspapers, magazines, and various articles.”
“It was viewed as routine and ‘no big deal,’” he added. “In actuality, I have been told I was under no obligation to give this material based on various legal rulings that have been made over the years.”