Trump tweet inspires new ‘COVFEFE Act’

Democratic Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois introduced legislation on Monday that would amend the Presidential Records Act and compel the National Archives to classify presidential social media posts as official, protected records.

The Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically For Engagement Act – and its abbreviated title – is a not-so-subtle reference to the now infamous, late-night tweet President Trump sent out on May 31.

The post remained active on the president’s account for approximately six hours.

When asked by reporters as to why the tweet was not immediately deleted or clarified, Press Secretary Sean Spicer asserted, “I think the President and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.”

White House officials and Trump allies have previously offered contradicting views in relation to how seriously the public should regard the president’s social media activity. However, last week, Spicer affirmed Twitter posts constitute official statements.

In a press release issued late Monday, Representative Quigley stated: “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.”

“In order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say; this includes 140-character tweets,” Quigley continued.

The legislation would prevent the president from deleting his posts on platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and – most pertinently – Twitter.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Reinstated Ingonyama Trust managers hit with retrenchment notices

The effect of Covid-19 and the land reform department’s freeze of R23-million because the ITB didn’t comply with budget submissions are cited as some of the reasons for the staff cuts

Battle over R6bn workers’ retirement fund

Allegations from both sides tumble out in court papers

Nigeria’s anti-corruption boss arrested for corruption

Ibrahim Magu’s arrest by the secret police was a surprise — but also not surprising

Eskom refers employees suspected of contracts graft for criminal investigations

The struggling power utility has updated Parliament on investigations into contracts where more than R4-billion was lost in overpayments

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday