A much-lampooned – and now-deleted – tweet by US President Donald Trump has prompted a serious legislative effort aimed at stopping him from erasing his many misspelled missives and other online messages.
Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley introduced the so-called COVFEFE Act, a reference to Mr Trump’s most famous typo yet, when last month he mysteriously tweeted from his personal account: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”.
Hours later, the president deleted the offending tweet.
But the matter highlights a more serious issue about whether tweets should be included under the Presidential Records Act and whether tweets from Mr Trump’s personal @realDonaldTrump account should be archived in the same way as those from the official presidential account @POTUS.
Mr Trump frequently deletes Twitter messages – especially those with spelling errors – calling into question whether he is wrongly altering the record of his time in office.
“In order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say; this includes 140-character tweets,” Mr Quigley said.
“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 COVFEFE acronym in Quigley’s legislation stands for: “Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement.”
Mr Quigley’s office said the COVFEFE Act would make sure deleted tweets are documented for archival purposes, and would make deleting tweets a violation of the Presidential Records Act.
Yesterday, flattery was the flavour of the day as Mr Trump’s cabinet one by one heaped praise on the president.
It was the first formal gathering of his most senior officials at the White House.
Flattery flavor of the day at Trump’s cabinet meeting pic.twitter.com/L2ikbGF4O8
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 13, 2017
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said: “On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr President, we thank you for the honour and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people and we’re continuing to work very hard every day to accomplish those goals.”
Vice President Mike Pence said: “It is the greatest privilege of my life to serve as vice president. The president is keeping his word to the American people.”
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, noting the comments from other officials who said they had recently been abroad, noted: “While we are bragging about international travel, I just got back from Mississippi and they like you there.”
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called it “a new day at the United Nations” with Mr Trump in power.
“We now have a very strong voice. People know what the United States is for. They know what we are against. And they see us in a new way across the board. I think the international community knows we are back,” she said.
Mr Trump used the meeting to try to show a sense of momentum for his agenda after weeks of being engulfed in controversy over his firing of FBI director James Comey, who was heading the Russia investigation.
“We’ve been about as active as you can possibly be and at a just about record pace”, he said.
“In just a very short time we are seeing amazing results. People are surprised. It’s kicking in very fast.”
But one of his greatest adversaries, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, put together a mock video of a meeting with his staff with aides praising Mr Schumer.
“Michelle, how’d my hair look coming out of the gym this morning?” Mr Schumer asks, turning to one staffer.
“You have great hair. Nobody has better hair than you,” Michelle said.