Perhaps this explains why he was so fixated on how many times he had to flush during the 2020 campaign?
Let it never be said that Donald Trump, for all his mealy-mouthed rambling, was nothing less than a master communicator. From the ubiquitous success of his “Make America Great Again” slogan to his co-optation of the phrase “fake news,” to any number of his random asides, intentional (?) jokes, and sincerely hilarious screw ups, the former president has somehow managed to sear a lifetime’s worth of deeply weird idioms and catchphrases into the poor, overtaxed crevices of my brain. And of that laundry list of Trump-isms crowding my frontal lobe, perhaps none sticks out more than the time he insisted without prompting that “people are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once” — what I took, at the time, to be an attempt to universalize his personal gastrointestinal experience following a lifetime of eating like a drunk college sophomore.
How wrong I was. According to just released reports from New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman’s forthcoming book on the Trump presidency, the White House toilets during the Trump administration were frequently clogged. Only, the clogs weren’t the result of massive fast food feasts, or double servings of ice cream (at least, they weren’t solely the result of his gormandizing). Instead, it turns out, the West Wing’s plumbing was catastrophically backed up with paper. Printed paper. Important paper.
“Staff in White House residence would periodically find the toilet clogged,” Haberman explained Thursday morning in an interview on CNN. “The engineer would have to come and fix it, and what the engineer would find would be wads of clumped up wet, printed paper.”
“This was either notes, or some other piece of paper they believe [Trump] had thrown down the toilet,” she continued. “What it could be, it could anybody’s guess.”
Hmmmmmmm. Truly a stumper. I guess no one will ever know. All we have to go on, I suppose, are the well-established reports of the former president playing it wildly fast and loose with his document dumps in the past. Congressional investigators on the committee investigating the Capitol riot were allegedly handed taped-up shredded papers turned over from the Trump White House, while the National Archives is currently urging the Justice Department to investigate how Trump handled at least 15 boxes of documents improperly taken with him to his Mar-a-Lago estate — including potentially classified information — rather than turning them over to the government once he’d left office, as is required by law.
So, yeah, it’s anyone’s guess what Trump seems to have tried desperately to flush away. A real head-scratcher.
Predictably, Trump has denied Haberman’s report, calling it “categorically untrue” and “made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book.” And while Trump’s denials are about as worthwhile as a turd in the White House toilets, Trump is not entirely off the mark on that last point. If Haberman’s account is indeed true — and let’s be real, it probably is — then that’s the sort of thing that should have been reported during his presidency, and not saved for after the fact, as part of a book announcement. (Depressingly, given the degree to which Trump has flaunted his various criminal exploits and penchant for law-breaking to little consequence, there’s no reason to believe he would have faced any real legal ramifications from this particular discretion. But still.)
In any case, if nothing else, I guess now we know why Trump seems to have had such a tough time flushing the presidential potty. Mystery solved.