In late 2019, as the House of Representatives prepared to impeach Donald Trump the first time, the then-president seemed preoccupied with an unexpected issue: toilets.
At a White House roundtable on small businesses, for example, the Republican declared that the EPA, at his suggestion, is “looking very strongly” at toilets, because Americans “are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once.”
Two weeks later, he brought it up at a campaign rally in Michigan. A few weeks after that, Trump was at it again at a Wisconsin event, insisting that Americans are routinely having to flush 10 to 15 times.
After a while, it was difficult not to wonder not only why the then-president was fixated on the issue, but also why he was having so many toilet troubles. Maybe it was because he was literally trying to flush White House documents? Axios reported this morning:
While President Trump was in office, staff in the White House residence periodically discovered wads of printed paper clogging a toilet — and believed the president had flushed pieces of paper, Maggie Haberman scoops in her forthcoming book, “Confidence Man.”
The timing of the revelation could hardly be better. We are, after all, in the midst of a burgeoning controversy surrounding Trump literally tearing up White House documents and taking 15 boxes of materials that didn’t belong to him to Mar-a-Lago when he left office last year.
Now, if The New York Times reporter’s book is correct, there’s a new dimension to the story: Trump wasn’t just tearing up official records into pieces the size of confetti, he may also have tried to flush papers down the toilet.
During Watergate, Richard Nixon had a problem with operatives known as “the plumbers.” A half-century later, a different scandal-plagued Republican president may have needed the services of actual plumbers.
As NBC News reported this morning, Trump has already denied the accuracy of the reporting.
“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,” the former president said in a written press statement.
The problem, of course, is that Trump has spent many years habitually denying the accuracy of stories that were entirely true, leaving his credibility in, forgive me, shreds.
Update: It's not just Maggie Haberman who's making this claim. Bloomberg News' Jennifer Jacobs wrote this morning via Twitter that the story is "100% true." Jacobs added that White House staffers found "clumped/torn/shredded papers and fished them out from blocked bathroom toilet." Those same staffers, according to her sources, "believed it had been the president’s doing."