Democratic lawmaker introduces ‘Covfefe’ bill

Author: CBS News
Published:
FILE: President Donald Trump speaks at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 29, 2017, during a Memorial Day ceremony. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (CBS) Congress could turn “covfefe,” a word coined by President Trump in a tweet, into a law with newly introduced legislation from Representative Mike Quigley, D-Illinois.

On Monday, Quigley introduced the COVFEFE Act– an acronym for the “Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement.” The bill seeks to add the term “social media” to the Presidential Records Act, which governs the archival records of the presidency, including the preservation and publication of the records. Under the Quigley’s measure, the president’s tweets would become part of his public presidential record.

“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 released by his office. “President Trump’s frequent, unfiltered use of his personal Twitter account as a means of official communication is unprecedented.”

The bill’s name plays off Mr. Trump’s late-night tweet at the end of May which read, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” The president has since deleted the tweet from his personal Twitter account, but followed up a few hours after the initial tweet with “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’ ??? Enjoy!”

If the COVFEFE Act passes it could also make deleting the president’s tweets illegal.

While Mr. Trump inherited the @POTUS Twitter account from his predecessor, former President Obama, he frequently uses his personal account, @realDonaldTrump, to communicate with the public.

“These tweets that he does feeds that lynch mob,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said of Mr. Trump’s Twitter habit on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday. “You’re your own worst enemy here, Mr. President. Knock it off.”

The president’s use of Twitter to criticize politicians, call out news organizations and offer his opinion on political incidents has caused concern both for the potential harm the tweets may cause, as well as how they will be recorded as part of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

“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,” Quigley said. “Tweets are powerful, and the president must be held accountable for every post.”

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