Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) riffed on a recent Twitter meme with legislation that would expand the Presidential Records Act to explicitly include social media posts as documentary material.
"Covfefe," President Donald Trump's now-legendary deleted Twitter typo, has made an appearance in legislation.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) on June 12 introduced the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement (COVFEFE) Act, which seeks to expand laws surrounding preservation of presidential communications and statements to include social media posts.
Specifically, Quigley’s bill would amend the Presidential Records Act to explicitly include deleted social media posts as documentary material and make deleting them a violation of the law.
"In order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say; this includes 140-character tweets," Quigley, who co-chairs the Congressional Transparency Caucus, 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."
Currently, while the National Archives advises that the White House should preserve all social media posts made by the president, the arbiter for what constitutes a presidential record is, ultimately, the president himself.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at a June 6 White House briefing that posts coming from Trump's account "are considered official statements by the president of the United States." And lawmakers from both chambers have raised questions about the White House's record-keeping practices.
In response to a letter from Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), David S. Ferriero, the national archivist, confirmed that White House officials said they are preserving all tweets, including those that are deleted.
Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have also raised concerns about the White House’s compliance on record-keeping laws.