It’s fairly customary for former United States presidents to build and maintain a presidential library after their term/s in office has concluded. However, when it comes to Donald Trump’s presidential library, several concerns have been raised. People have long been wondering how exactly the ex-president would acquire the money needed to build and continually maintain such an establishment — especially considering his finances were so bad off that he was reportedly stooping to swindling his own supporters out of massive donations.
However, a new report from Palm Beach Post indicates that the concerns surrounding Donald’s presidential library aren’t simply monetary. Apparently, some people are unsettled at the question of what that sort of collection of historical documents would reveal to the general public, and if the collection would even be historically accurate, coming from the likes of Donald Trump.
On the one hand, according to the report, historians and experts on presidential historical documents are worried that the ex-president will treat his library much like he does everything else in his life and turn the establishment into nothing more than a makeshift shrine to himself.
The other side of that concern is the rightful assumption that given the Trump administration’s record-keeping habits were sketchy at best, the materials contained in the library’s collection won’t even be historically accurate.
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Anne Weismann of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said she feels that a Trump library would be a rather iffy prospect.
“I think the risk that he would use that kind of institution to perpetuate lies and untruths is so harmful to our democracy,” she states. “It is too great of a risk.”
The Washington Post’s Philip Kennicott agreed, suggesting that Congress should deny Trump the courtesy “that allows presidents to ask that their records be withheld from the public for 12 years.”
“The case of Trump is exceptional by any standard, and he should be afforded no discretion over his records or any privilege to extend the amount of time before the public can see them,” Kennicott has said in previous writings. “Trump’s presidency mixed public and private interests in a way that was unprecedented in modern American history, so his decisions on these matters can’t be trusted.”
The Post writes that, regarding the library itself, “the former president has told supporters he wants to raise $2 billion for the library — a far greater sum than has been raised for past presidential libraries — and thinks he can collect it in small-dollar donations from his grassroots supporters.”
Of course, these concerns regarding the documents that would ultimately be displayed stem from Trump’s own repeated battles to keep so many of his documents out of the public eye.
“As for how the Trump administration would be portrayed in museum exhibits, no one knows. Much of it depends on how well Trump complied with the Presidential Records Act, which defines how records should be retained,” the report notes.
Robert Watson, a historian at Lynn University says, “… previous former presidents have built their libraries in partnership with the NARA. But Watson… said he fears the relationship between Trump and the federal records administration ‘would be testy at best, if non-existent’ as have been the president’s dealings with government agencies.”
“With Trump you automatically wonder whether what is being put in the library is truthful. We have alternative facts. We’ve had a war on the truth,” he added.
You can read the full report here.