WASHINGTON — “Covfefe” was the late-night Donald Trump tweet that inexplicably trailed off and became a social media sensation — and, today, it’s now legislation.
“Despite the negative press covfefe” Trump tweeted at the end of May, a statement that remained online for six hours before it was taken down.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer later provided covfefe cover, telling reporters, “The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.”
Today, Congressional Transparency Caucus Co-Chairman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) introduced the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement — COVFEFE — Act to amend the Presidential Records Act to include the term “social media” as a documentary material to be archived.
The Federal Records Act was amended in November 2014 to define electronic messages subject to preservation including chat, instant messaging, texting, Google Voice and social media. That year, the National Archives said in guidance that they believed social media was of historical importance and warranted preservation.
Trump uses his personal account, @realDonaldTrump, for most of his tweets, with some others issued from the official @POTUS account. Quigley’s office noted that there’s currently not clarity about whether the former account’s tweets will be archived in the same manner as the latter.
If Trump’s personal account was subject to the Presidential Records Act, he would not have been allowed to delete the covfefe tweet.
“In order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say; this includes 140-character tweets,” Quigley said in a statement. “President Trump’s frequent, unfiltered use of his personal Twitter account as a means of official communication is unprecedented. If the president is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference.”
“Tweets are powerful, and the president must be held accountable for every post,” he added.