Today in “things we really wish didn’t need to happen,” Democratic Representative Mike Quigley has introduced the Covfefe Act.
No, we’re not kidding.
The Illinois congressman shared a statement on his website on Monday morning explaining that the Presidential Records Act has been expanded to include any social media posts shared by the President of the United States, not just posts shared from the official @POTUS accounts.
According to Quigley, the “COVFEFE” Act stands for “Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement.” (Niiiiiiiiiiiiice. Very well done, guys. Super clever.)
The name of the act is clearly a reference to the infamous Trump tweet, in which the president shared the non-existent term “covfefe” with his millions of followers, deleted it, and then had his press secretary announce that “the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.”
The letters, which are likely just a meaningless misspelling of the word “coverage,” sparked a trove of conspiracy theories, and were even added to the Words with Friends dictionary, so it only makes sense that they would now literally inspire a congressman to take action.
Essentially, the bill alters the existing Presidential Records Act to ensure anything that falls under the term “social media” will now be eligible to be documented and archived.
Though the official @POTUS and White House Twitter accounts have been archived in the past, Trump often tweets from his personal account, which was not previously referenced in the Presidential Records Act.
Now, thanks to the Covfefe Act, all those Trump Twitter rants and misspellings will be preserved, regardless of whether or not they’re deleted.
“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.”
That said, back in April, David S. Ferriero — head of the National Archives and Records Administration — sent a letter to Democratic senators Tom Carper (DE) and Claire McCaskill (MO) explaining in very little detail that the White House is archiving all of Trump’s tweets, including the deleted ones.
With the newly implemented Covfefe Act, deleting the president’s tweets, no matter where they are posted, will now be a violation of the Presidential Records Act, one that’s “subject to disciplinary action.”
With the new act at play, POTUS is definitely going to want to be a bit less hasty when sending out his 140-character statements. Might we suggest getting a grammar workbook or turning on your phone’s spellcheck feature? And definitely no more tweeting before bed … that’s far too dangerous.
Back in March, Quigley also introduced the “Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness” Act — or “MAR-A-LAGO” Act — as a nod to Trump’s Florida property. The bill requires White House visitor logs (and logs where Trump regularly conducts official business) to be published, so the congressman doesn’t seem to be backing down.