The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The COVFEFE Act would preserve Trump’s tweets as presidential records

The Supreme Court is allowing a limited version of President Trump's travel ban to take effect as it gears up to hear the case in the fall. (Video: Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post, Photo: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

The true definition of “covfefe,” — born from a deleted, after-midnight tweet from President Trump — remains unsettled, even to the commander in chief, who appeared to mistype it into existence on Twitter last month. But a congressman from Illinois wants to bring new meaning to the word.

The COVFEFE Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) on Monday, aims to preserve tweets from the president's personal Twitter account, ensuring that Trump's social-media posts are archived as presidential records.

“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. “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's bill would add an explicit mention of “social media” to the Presidential Records Act, a law mandating the preservation of presidential communications. Quigley also hopes to ensure that messages from Trump's personal Twitter account, @RealDonaldTrump, get archived in the same way as the official @POTUS account. Deleting tweets would also violate the Records Act, under the proposed law.

Spelled out in the act's name, COVFEFE stands for: Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement.

This isn't the first time Quigley has deployed topical wordplay to challenge what he sees as Trump's lack of transparency. Earlier this year, he introduced the MAR-A-LAGO Act, which would require the administration to publish the visitor logs tied to the White House and any other location, like Trump's luxurious private club in Palm Beach, Fla., where the president has conducted official business.

Like the MAR-A-LAGO Act, the COVFEFE Act is likely to face an uphill battle to become law in the Republican-controlled Congress. A spokesperson for Quigley said the legislation has several Democratic co-sponsors, but no Republican backers.