The Washington Post has published an op-ed arguing that President Donald Trump “must never have” a presidential library.
The paper, whose motto is “Democracy dies in darkness,” presented an argument Thursday by “art and architecture critic” Philip Kennicott about why the history of the Trump administration should, in fact, be shrouded in darkness.
Kennicott wrote: “Trump must never have an official presidential library, and Congress should move quickly to make sure he never will.”
He argued that Trump cannot be trusted to handle documents relating to his presidency, because he “mixed public and private interests.” He adds that Trump must be punished because he allegedly “incited an insurrection” on January 6.
Kennicott argued further that Trump might use a presidential library to tout his successes, which should not be allowed:
The danger of Trump using a presidential library to burnish his image is far more serious, with the ex-president and his surrogates still promoting the idea that his electoral loss was somehow fraudulent. That creates an ongoing uncertainty in American public life, which Trump and even more unscrupulous actors will use to further division, inflame tension, exacerbate racism and delegitimize the American democratic system.
Moreover, Kennicott argues, even if Trump were to build a presidential library, he does not have the skill (despite decades of success as a developer) to build one:
As Anthony Clark, author of “The Last Campaign: How Presidents Rewrite History, Run for Posterity & Enshrine Their Legacies,” wrote recently in Politico, it is unlikely that Trump has the focus, administrative savvy and financial resources to execute a presidential center: “Presidential libraries are complicated. And if you understand how they work — and how Trump himself works — it’s nearly impossible to imagine him actually pulling it off,” Clark writes.
Kennicott not only calls on Congress to deny Trump any government support for a presidential library, but also says Trump should not be allowed to build one privately, calling on the public to “put pressure on corporate and other entities not to donate to any group associated with any effort to build a Trump presidential center.”
President Barack Obama has not yet opened his library, which faces opposition because he wants to build it in a local park in Chicago. Taxpayers are expected to pay $174 million for local infrastructure changes to accommodate the facility — which will be more of a monument to Obama than a library, as it is not expected to house any of his presidential records.