The Association of University Presses joins the American Historical Association and other organizations in condemning Donald J. Trump’s reported extensive and repeated violations of the 1978 Presidential Records Act.
Journalists depend on these records to inform the public; future administrations rely on accurate and complete documentation of government and democratic processes; and, key to the work of university presses, presidential records are primary sources for research in scholarly fields from history to political science to military and defense studies. The former president’s noncompliance with the Presidential Records Act demonstrates contempt not only for the rule of law and the bedrock of our nation’s democracy, but also for the foundation of scholarly inquiry, which the Association’s global community of mission-driven publishers upholds.
This is not the first time that the Association has spoken out in support of the 1978 Presidential Records Act. AUPresses (then AAUP) joined an amicus brief in 2002, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, protesting President George W. Bush’s Executive Order 13233 which severely restricted public access to presidential records. The order was struck down in part in 2007 and revoked entirely in 2009 by President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13489.