Ridiculed Trump tweet prompts new legislation
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Ridiculed Trump tweet prompts new legislation

Proposed COVFEFE Act seeks to document tweets in official record, barring president from deleting them

US President Donald Trump smiles during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 12, 2017. (NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP)
US President Donald Trump smiles during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 12, 2017. (NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP)

WASHINGTON — A much-lampooned — and now-deleted — tweet by US President Donald Trump has spurred a serious legislative effort aimed at stopping him from erasing his many misspelled missives and other online messages.

Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley on Monday introduced the so-called COVFEFE Act, a reference to Trump’s most famous typo yet, when last month he mysteriously tweeted from his personal account: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.”

It was unclear what he was trying to say, and the word “covfefe,” of course, does not exist in English.

Hours later, Trump deleted the offending tweet. But that didn’t stop online wags and media commentators from having a bit of fun.

Demonstrator Annette Lievers carries a sign concerning a recent Trump tweet as she joined about 200 demonstrators before a town hall meeting with Republican US Representative Darrell Issa at a high school in San Juan Capistrano, California, on June 3, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter)
Demonstrator Annette Lievers carries a sign concerning a recent Trump tweet as she joined about 200 demonstrators before a town hall meeting with Republican US Representative Darrell Issa at a high school in San Juan Capistrano, California, on June 3, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter)

“‘Covfefe is a great word, period!’ – Sean Spicer tomorrow,” read one tweet, mentioning the president’s spokesman.

Yet the matter highlights a more serious issue about whether tweets should be included under the Presidential Records Act.

Trump frequently deletes Twitter messages — especially those with spelling errors — calling into question whether he is wrongly altering the record of his time in office.

Congressional portrait of Mike Quigley, Democrat Representative for Illinois, March 13, 2011. (Public domain, Wikimedia commons)
Congressional portrait of Mike Quigley, Democrat Representative for Illinois, March 13, 2011. (Public domain, Wikimedia commons)

“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.

“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.”

The COVFEFE acronym in Quigley’s legislation stands for: “Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically For Engagement.”

Quigley’s office said the COVFEFE Act would make sure deleted tweets are documented for archival purposes, and would make deleting tweets a violation of the Presidential Records Act.

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