Washington Post writer says Trump should never be allowed to have a presidential library

"Trump wants a library. He must never have one," reads the WaPo headline.

Updated: January 29, 2021 - 12:31pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Washington Post turned to Philip Kennicott, a Pulitzer Prize-winning art and architecture critic who first worked for the paper critiquing classical music and culture, to argue against former President Trump ever getting his own presidential library.

Every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has a library, but Kennicott said Trump "must never have one."

"Former president Donald Trump will have an official portrait in the National Portrait Gallery at some point," Kennicott writes. "And in states where he remains popular, he could have airports, bridges and schools named for him. But Trump must never have an official presidential library, and Congress should move quickly to make sure he never will."

He also says Trump should never even be allowed to try to have a library because even that would "cause further damage to the country."

"That is why Congress should use this moment to reconsider the legislation that helped create and shape the presidential libraries now administered by the National Archives, not just to prevent Trump from perpetrating one last, giant grift, but to reform the system so it serves the country better," Kennicott continues. "This is long overdue, and would need to be done even if Trump weren’t trying to raise $2 billion for a Trump center. But his intention to do so makes this urgent, even an issue of national security." 

But then Kennicott argued that historians need access to Trump's presidential documents, which would be held in a library.

"It is imperative to the nation’s future that we know how and why authoritarianism became so deeply and pervasively rooted in the Trump administration. Historians, journalists and biographers need immediate access to this material (with the minimal oversight necessary by professional, nonpartisan archivists) to help educate the American public on the greatest threat to the republic since the Civil War."

Then he again argued Trump should never have one.

"So even a privately funded and operated Trump presidential library, which would be devoted to whitewashing his record and rewriting history, is a terrible and even dangerous idea. Further, given Trump’s alleged misuse of charitable funds, including self-dealing, waste and other illegal activities, at his now dissolved New York-based foundation, any intention to start another public entity can only be considered a crime scene waiting to happen," Kennicott wrote.

While Trump rarely talks about plans for a library, an unknown person or group in December set up a satirical website djtlibrary.com.

The design concept includes a "COVID Memorial" with reflecting pool, an "Alt-Right Auditorium" replete with Confederate flags, along with a few tongue-in-cheek exhibitions, such as "Tax Evasion 101" and the "Hall of Enablers."

The sites's suggested library location: on the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Ariz.

The Los Angeles Times tracked down the site’s architect – an actual architect, whom the paper didn’t identify.