Michael Beschloss—a presidential historian who hosts MSNBC's Fireside History on Peacock—had a snarky reaction to a photo the Department of Justice (DoJ) included in a court filing of classified documents seized from former Republican President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort earlier this month.
The DoJ sought a search warrant for Trump's home turned paid membership resort and event space after "obtaining evidence that highly classified documents were likely concealed and that Mr. Trump’s representatives had falsely claimed all sensitive material had been returned," according to The New York Times, which broke the news about the court filing.
The filing came after Trump requested an independent review of materials seized from Mar-a-Lago following a search that found three classified documents in desks in Trump's office as well as more than 100 documents in 13 boxes or containers with classification markings, some with the highest restrictions.
Included in the filing was a photograph of several yellow folders recovered from Trump's home turned paid resort marked “Top Secret” and another red one labeled “Secret.”
The photo of the documents quickly circulated online, soon catching the attention of Beschloss, who commented:
"This photo clearly suggests that the ex-President shows great respect for the importance of classified documents, right?"
The number of documents the DoJ uncovered was twice the number of classified documents Trump's attorneys turned over voluntarily swearing under oath they'd returned all classified information to the federal government.
The filing indicates prosecutors are exploring the possibility Trump and his associates engaged in criminality and intentionally obstructed the investigation and investigators concluded “government records were likely concealed and removed” from a Mar-a-Lago storage room after the DoJ sent Trump a subpoena for any remaining classified documents in its efforts to recover what had previously been a straightforward request from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
Trump—like all Presidents since the establishment of the Presidential Records Act of 1978—was required to turn over all documents to NARA. Instead, NARA noted Trump took them with him to Mar-a-Lago.
Mar-a-Lago is accessible by any individual who can pay the membership fee and members of the public who book facilities or attend events at the resort such as weddings or birthday parties. Surveillance video from Mar-a-Lago seemed to indicate the documents Trump took were not guarded or always kept in a locked room—despite some being classified or top secret.
At the moment, "department officials are not expected to file charges imminently, if they ever do," according to the Times report. They also noted "the specific contents of the materials the government recovered in the search remain unclear—as does what risk to national security Mr. Trump’s decision to retain the materials posed."
Given these facts, it's become all the more clear Trump does not show "great respect for the importance of classified documents" as Beschloss so snarkily quipped.
Social media users soon responded with quips and observations of their own.
Beschloss has sparred with the Trump family before.
Last summer, former First Lady Melania Trump lashed out at him after he referred to her controversial renovation of the White House Rose Garden as an "evisceration."
Trump fired back via a Twitter account that represents her official "office," though she does not currently hold any office since leaving the White House.
The account said Beschloss had "proven his ignorance by showing a picture of the Rose Garden in its infancy," a remark that prompted social media users to criticize the former First Lady and to air their own grievances about her design.