On Monday, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley introduced the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement Act of 2017, or the COVFEFE Act.
The Act would address the problems of accountability and transparency with Donald Trump’s incessant tweeting, as well as any other social media in which Trump and his presidential successors may engage.
As Quigley stated in a press release on the bill, “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 particular, the COVFEFE Act would add the term “social media” to the types of records included in the 1978 Presidential Records Act, the law Quigley’s bill is amending. Currently, the PRA requires all presidential records, which include any of a president’s official statements, to be preserved.
And as beleaguered White House Press Secretary James Comey confirmed last week, Trump’s tweets are official statements.
So under this law, Trump’s practice of deleting his tweets from both his personal and POTUS accounts would be considered unlawful.
Further, the COVFEFE Act would ensure that a president’s personal social media accounts are also archived in the public record.
Trump has gone back and forth between using his @realDonaldTrump account and @POTUS for different purposes. This bill would prevent Trump from selectively tweeting from his personal account to avoid regulation.
By having a law the holds Trump accountable for his social media activity, perhaps it may also limit the frequency of his tweeting, as the President has made it clear he’s a bit anxious about being monitored.
While it’s fun to imagine “covfefe” being memorialized under federal law, it is impossible for the bill to pass given the Republican majority in the Senate. Despite being publicly deferential to the President, the Republican Party does not need any reminder that its leaders have devolved from Gettysburg addresses to daily social media tantrums.