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.

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Peter Rothpletz
Peter Rothpletz is an American writer and contributor to the Mail & Guardian. An alumnus of Yale University's Journalism Initiative, he primarily reports on international affairs, civil conflict, and radical extremism.

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