Unless you have been living under a rock in some other time and place, you have heard about Covfefe. While the ‘Covfefe Act’ seems like another silly name and filler media story, it is one bringing valid points to light.
The Covfefe Act, otherwise known as the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically For Engagement Act, is the brainchild of Representative Mike Quigley from Illinois. All you have to do is dive a little bit deeper into what this Act represents. Going back to the beginning, Covfefe stemmed from a late night tweet by President Trump where he stated: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”. As you can imagine, the social media world went wild, bringing about countless stories and theories on what this secret word could mean.
While the actual name of this particular bill is a bit silly in nature, it does address an issue that is legitimate. Rep. Quigley has stated that elected officials have to answer for whatever is said and done if they want to be able to maintain full public trust in the government as a whole. This idea includes any 140 character tweets that are put out by the POTUS or anyone else in an official seat. Such communication has become unprecedented now that President Trump refuses to give up the unfiltered, frequent use of his very own personal account on Twitter. Now that the President has decided he will take to social media as he sees fit, even when it comes to proclamations regarding public policy, we need to be sure that such statements become documented and fully preserved for future reference.
Recently, press secretary for the White House, Sean Spicer, was able to confirm that any tweets that are put out by President Trump should be upon as official statements. After all, being POTUS, any statements put out into public forum should be considered as being an official statement of the presidential office.
Since taking the oath of office earlier this year, President Trump has used both his private account, @realDonaldTrump, and his presidential account, @POTUS, for statements regarding his feelings and goings on when it comes to official White House business and other happenings across the globe.
What Does This Mean With The Covfefe Act?
With the @POTUS Twitter account, anything that is put out there is fully documented and archived as official statements. However, as of right now, any of the tweets that come out of the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account is not archived or documented in any way. With the Covfefe Act, there would be a motion in place that would mean all of the official and personal account tweets that are coming from President Trump would have to be fully preserved and archived for future reference, should the need arise.
What Is The Big Deal?
There is a fine line, according to many, when it comes to the information that shared on social media from the highest office in the land. Earlier on this month, President Trump is said to have blocked at least a couple of Twitter users from being able to view his tweets on his personal account, meaning that they are not able to comment either. What this does is raise some questions that have to do with the First Amendment.
Representative Quigley is a Democrat that represents the North Side in Chicago and a few of the suburbs to the west. He was a sponsor of another piece of legislation that has the clever moniker, Mar-A-Lago, or the Making Access Records Available to Lead American Governmental Openness Act. This bill called for the President and the Vice President to disclose any of the names and the purposes of visitors that make their way to the White House, as well as any other location where official business takes place.
The Covfefe Act could end up dead in the water, especially with the Republicans in control of Congress. Of course, any archivists are certainly taking heart, even if the tweets deleted by the POTUS are not forgotten.