Because we now live in a dimension that is two parts Hieronymus Bosch’s The Last Judgment and one part Alice Through the Looking Glass, absurdity now rules the day. And so, it falls to me to report that a bill inspired by Trump’s “covfefe” tweet is making its way through Congress.
Though, as NBC News reports, the bill itself is not nonsense. Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois has put forth the “Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically For Engagement” Act, which would amend the Presidential Records Act to include social media posts as material that must be preserved and archived. As you may have noticed, the acronym for this clumsily-named bill is “COVFEFE.” Cute.
“The name might be silly, but the issue’s really important and serious,” said Quigley spokesperson Tara Vales to NBC News.
She’s not wrong. Press secretary Sean Spicer has said on the record that Trump’s tweets should be received as official policy statements. If that’s the case, deleting tweets—which Trump has done 19 times since his inauguration—ought to be considered destruction of a public document.
“When the president deletes a tweet, it is the equivalent of him destroying a record,” explained Vales to NBC News.
In 2014, the National Archives declared presidential social media posts official documents and said they must be handled as such. And in April, the White House claimed that, indeed, they were saving all of Trump’s tweets.
But what’s not clear is whether this regulation applies only to the official @POTUS account or to his personal one, @realDonaldTrump, as well. Quigley wants to pass the COVFEFE Act to ensure the policy applies to both.
“Tweets are powerful, and the president must be held accountable for every post,” Quigley wrote in a statement.
As for the 19 deleted tweets, many seem to have been erased due to typos or spelling errors. (“Covfefe” probably meant “coverage,” but it’s taken on a life of its own now.) But Trump has also deleted tweets that espouse controversial statements. On May 4, he tweeted, “An honor to host President Mahmoud Abbas at the WH today. Hopefully, something terrific could come out of it between the Palestinians and Israel.” After 13 hours, the tweet was deleted without a revision posted in its place.
Meanwhile, the fuzzy, distended colon slumped in the Oval Office has declared—on Twitter, of course—that his social media posts shan’t be tempered. Only the rawest tweets from our POTUS, amirite?
Donald, what many of us actually hate most is that you’re somehow still president. But the thought of you declaring war on the same platform that hosts cat memes—that’s unpleasant too.