A 3D-printed logo for Twitter is seen in this picture illustration made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on January 26, 2016. Photograph: (Reuters)
'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,' the lawmaker said
With the world still trying to figure out the meaning of 'covfefe'- a term seemingly coined by President Donald Trump, the word has now become an official bill.
Democratic Rep Mike Quigley of Illinois has introduced the "COVFEFE Act," in order to preserve a President's social media records, reports CNN.
Quigley's bill turns the word into an acronym standing for the 'Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement Act', which would broaden the scope of the Presidential Records Act of 1978 by including the term "social media" as documentary material.
On May 31, shortly after midnight President Donald Trump published the following statement on Twitter: "Despite the constant negative press covfefe".
The tweet was published for several hours before being removed, allowing observers plenty of time to ponder the meaning of "covfefe" and also produced a stream of memes.
Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
While the naming of the act isn't without humour, it serves a very important function. Obama was the first US president to ever issue a Tweet from a POTUS (President of the United States), something he did only on May 18, 2015. Trump tweets regularly, at all hours of the day. Regulating this new technology is vital, especially for a president who tweets about a range of highly political and international issues.
It wasn't just that the tweet itself raised issues about spelling.
The deletion of the tweet brought up questions about how the Presidents' social media should be handled and preserved.
"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-founded the Congressional Transparency Caucus, said in a statement.
He further said that Trump's frequent, unfiltered use of his personal Twitter account 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," the lawmaker said.
President-elect vs President
Before he was president Trump could, and did, delete tweets without any legal problems. He deleted a Tweet that critics called anti-Semitic for juxtaposing Hillary Clinton against a backdrop of dollar bills, with the message "Most Corrupt Candidate ever!" written inside a star of David, a prominent symbol in Judaism.
Here is a screenshot of Trump's tweet critics called anti-Semitic. This Tweet was deleted. In the new one the Star of David symbol was replaced by a circle. (Others)
Here is the revised Tweet.
There's no excuse for anybody, let alone a presidential candidate, to Tweet this way. But technically speaking there was nothing illegal about deleting the tweet.
This new Bill seeks to preserve any and every published statement Trump makes on social media while president. If Trump says something, it should stand for all to see. He will not be able to revise it.
Calling the Bill "Covfefe" is a funny way to make the name memorable. But let's not conflate the lightness of the name for the importance of its function.
(With inputs from ANI)