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Illinois Rep. introduces 'COVFEFE' bill to archive Trump tweets

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An Illinois lawmaker is looking to transform "covfefe" -- a mysterious term born out of a now-deleted tweet from President Donald Trump -- into a federal law.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) introduced the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement (COVFEFE) Act on Monday, which aims to amend the Presidential Records Act to make sure that social media posts, including deleted tweets, are archived and classified as "documentary material," according to the bill.

Quigley said the bill would make sure that the president is held accountable for his social media activity.

"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 Monday. "Tweets are powerful, and the President must be held accountable for every post."

Covfefe, which many believed to be a typo, prompted widespread speculation when it first appeared in one of Trump’s late-night tweets in May.

"Despite the constant negative press covfefe," Trump tweeted around midnight.

Trump deleted the tweet -- after about six hours -- and appeared to make light of the situation. He even challenged his followers to “figure out the true meaning” of the apparently made-up word.

The original tweet racked up more than 120,000 retweets and received more than 148,000 likes as some social media users crafted memes around the word, while others tried to come up with definitions for it.

Quigley, however, pointed to the covfefe tweet as an example of Trump’s "unprecedented" use of unfiltered social media posts.

“President Trump’s frequent, unfiltered use of his personal Twitter account as a means of official communication is unprecedented,” 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.”

Quigley, who is a co-founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Transparency Caucus, went on to note that the National Archives had released guidance stating that social media merits historical recording.

The National Archives also advised the White House earlier this year to preserve all of the president’s social media posts, including those that are subsequently deleted.

At a daily White House press briefing last week, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president's tweets should be considered official White House statements.

"The President is the most effective messenger on his agenda and I think his use of social media ... gives him an opportunity to speak straight to the American people, which has proved to be a very very effective tool,” Spicer said in response to if the president’s use of social media could impede his ability to get things done.

"I think the same people who are critiquing his use of it now, critiqued it during the election and it turned out pretty well for him then,” Spicer added.

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