Trump's Claims About Former Presidents Mishandling Official Records Debunked By Fact Checkers

Zinger Key Points
  • Donald Trump made comments on his predecessors handling of records at a rally in Arizona.
  • Trump's comments on George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were dismissed by fact checkers.
  • The former president's claims on Clinton losing 'nuclear codes' is also questionable.
Trump's Claims About Former Presidents Mishandling Official Records Debunked By Fact Checkers

Former President Donald Trump’s comments on his predecessors storing records in unsecured locations have been dismissed by various reports, past and present.

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Bush Sr's 'Chinese' Storage: In a Sunday rally, Trump said former President George H.W. Bush “took millions and millions of documents to a former bowling alley pieced together with what was then an old and broken Chinese restaurant" with "broken doors and windows."

He also called out the "double standard" when it came to the treatment of classified documents between him and his predecessors.

David Alsobrook, a presidential archivist at the National Archives, who worked on 36 million pages of records related to the Bush Sr. presidency joked, “I’ve told reporters this for the last four years: It’s not just a bowling alley; it’s a bowling alley and a Chinese restaurant,” reported CNN. He had mentioned the location in his 2004 book “A Noble Calling — Character and The George H.W. Bush Presidency."

But the moving of the records by NARA to the bowling alley was not unusual as it needed temporary space before the opening of the Bush presidential library, as per CNN.

Clinton's 'Sock File:' Trump said former President Bill Clinton kept classified records in his sock. “They say he left the White House with recordings in his sock, and they found [them] in his sock drawer,” said Trump, the Washington Post reported.

Trump referred to a court filing, made by his lawyers last month. The Post dismissed his claims about Clinton, saying the documents weren’t classified but rather tapes of conversations he had with an author who was working on the president’s oral history.

Trump also failed to mention that the sock drawer in question was at the White House, reported the Post.

Trump also alleged Clinton lost nuclear codes, referring to a book by Hugh Shelton, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said at the rally, “Bill Clinton also lost the nuclear codes, and nobody complained. Trump didn’t lose the nuclear codes. … “

In an article dating back to 2010, Foreign Policy reported that the account of Shelton in his memoir “Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior” has a gap and is “oddly imprecise.”

Shelton described in his memoir that "nuclear authorization codes" were lost for months, but the publication pointed out that the president doesn’t possess the actual codes but only a laminated card that is used to identify him. This card is easily and quickly replaced. 

Trump repeated his nuclear codes misinformation on Monday in a post on Truth Social, a social network owned by Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG).

Screenshot From Donald Trump's Truth Social

TMTG is set to go public through a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. DWAC.

Obama's 'Furniture Store:' At the Rally, Trump said that President Barack Obama moved 33 million pages of documents to a former furniture store in Chicago.

Those claims were dismissed by NARA, according to Reuters in Oct. 2022. At the end of the Obama administration, NARA took the “legal and physical custody” of records, reported Reuters.

“​​The Hoffman Estates facility once stored classified records, “in an appropriately secured compartment within the facility,” said NARA, according to the report.

The agency said it has since transferred the records to another facility maintained by it in Washington. 

The Hoffman Estate was once a furniture store, and it was reported by various news outlets in 2016 that records would be stored there until the Barack Obama Presidential Center was completed. Reuters reported, citing The Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald, that NARA would handle the records.

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