It’s no surprise, with his notoriously terrible diet of Big Macs and Diet Coke, that Donald Trump’s toilet is often the worse for wear. However, according to an upcoming book from New York Times reporter and Trump expert Maggie Haberman, it’s not the fast food that’s to blame.
In a book excerpt first reported by Axios on Thursday morning, Haberman claims that White House staff would often find Trump’s toilet clogged up with shredded documents—and they reportedly believed the papers were destroyed and flushed by the president himself. Haberman reports that workmen had to fix the toilet on more than one occasion.
The reporter appeared on CNN’s New Day to discuss the revelation later on Thursday morning. “Maggie, we start with the toilet,” host Brianna Keilar said to open the interview, in a sentence that has perhaps never before, and will likely never again, be heard on a national broadcast news.
“As I was reporting out this book, I learned that staff in the White House residence would periodically find the toilet clogged,” said Haberman. “The engineer would have to come and fix it, and what the engineer would find would be wads of, you know, clumped up printed wet paper.”
The reporter went on to clarify: “[This was] not toilet paper. This was either notes or some other piece of paper that they believe he had thrown down the toilet. What it could be, Brianna, it could be anybody’s guess. It could be Post-Its, it could be notes he wrote to himself, it could be other things, we don’t know. But it certainly does add... another dimension to what we know about how he handled material in the White House.”
CNN’s John Berman clearly wanted to know more. He went on to ask Haberman if she knows whether the clogging happened more than once, and if we know for sure if it was Trump’s toilet that had been blocked.
“They would periodically find this to be the case,” Haberman explained. “The exact number, John, I’m not certain of, but it was not just once... It was in the pipes... it was in the pipes. This was his bathroom.”
Trump, as he so often does, dismissed the claims as “fake” news.
In a statement on Thursday morning, the twice-impeached-former-president said: “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.”
Trump’s mishandling of official documents has come under closer scrutiny since 15 boxes of papers were taken away from Mar-a-Lago last month. The boxes were previously reported to have contained Kim Jong Un’s “love letters” to Trump, as well as the handover note left for the incoming president when Barack Obama left the White House in 2017.
However, reports this week have suggested that the documents swiped from the White House by Trump’s team were perhaps even more sensitive than previously realized. Late Wednesday, The New York Times reported that National Archives officials found what they believed to be “classified information” when searching through the seized boxes.
Earlier Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that the National Archives had gone so far as to ask the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s handling of the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago.
Haberman’s book, Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, is set for release this October.