Just more than two weeks ago, “covfefe” only existed as a random jumble of consonants and vowels haphazardly thrown together. On Monday, the now-famous typo made its debut on Capitol Hill.
On Monday, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-IL, introduced legislation in the hopes of enforcing stricter guidelines in regards to President Trump’s Twitter account. The bill would amend the Presidential Records Act to ensure all social media activity by presidents would be classified as “documentary material,” ensuring they would be preserved — even if they were deleted.
The name of the bill? The Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement — or “COVFEFE” — Act.
The name of Quigley’s bill refers to a since-deleted tweet by Trump sent in the early morning hours of May 31, in which the President tweeted “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” The tweet stayed active through the night and was deleted around dawn.
Trump played off the apparent typo as a joke, later tweeting “Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!”
Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
But Quigley says deleting presidential tweets is no laughing matter.
““President Trump’s frequent, unfiltered use of his personal Twitter account as a means of official communication is unprecedented,” Quigley wrote 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. Tweets are powerful, and the President must be held accountable for every post.”
In a press briefing last week, press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed that Trump’s tweets should be taken seriously.
"(He) is the President of the United States, so they're considered official statements by the President of the United States," Spicer said.
However, other Trump aides have downplayed the President’s use of Twitter. In a heated exchange with CNN anchor Chris Cuomo last week, Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka appeared to downplay Trump’s use of social media.
“They are not policy," Gorka said. "It's not policy. It's social media, Chris. It's social media. You know the difference, right?"
This isn’t the first time that Quigley has taken stabs at Trump with the title of his legislation. In March, he introduced a bill called the Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness — or MAR-A-LAGO — that would have required Trump to provide visitors logs at the White House or any other place where he conducted official business.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.