June 13 (UPI) — U.S. Rep. Mike Quigle, D-Ill., has introduced an act that would classify a president’s social media posts, such as those on Twitter, as official records.
Quigle’s office said the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement Act, or COVFEFE Act, would amend the Presidential Records Act by including the term “social media” as documentary material, which would ensure the “preservation of presidential communication and statements while promoting government accountability and transparency.”
Quigley, the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus, said his bill used guidance from the National Archives to draft the legislation. The Congressman representing Illinois’ 5th District directly referenced President Donald Trump‘s use of Twitter as a primary reason for introducing the bill.
Trump often uses his personal Twitter account to discuss current events or promote official business. For example, Trump announced last week on Twitter he would nominate Christopher A. Wray as the next director of the FBI.
“President Trump’s tweets frequently make national news and are a topic of everyday conversation, including deciphering the meaning behind his tweet using the previously unheard of term, ‘covfefe.’ While his personal account has become the de facto account for government business, it is unclear as to whether or not it would be archived in the same manner as the official @POTUS account under the Presidential Records Act,” Quigley’s office wrote in a statement.
The Twitter message that included the word “covfefe,” which appeared to be a typo, was tweeted out shortly after midnight May 31 and was deleted hours later.
“Despite the constant negative press covfefe,” the tweet read.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer last week said Trump’s tweets should be considered official presidential statements.
“The president is president of the United States, so they are considered official statements by the president of the United States,” Spicer said.
Quigley said elected officials “must answer for what they do and say” to help “maintain public trust in government.”
“President Trump’s frequent, unfiltered use of his personal Twitter account as a means of official communication is unprecedented,” Quigley added. “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.”