Monday, June 12, 2017

Facebook and Twitter and Blogs, Oh My!

According to this article dated June 12, 2017 and bylined by Joe Uchill in The Hill,  Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) introduced legislation that would classify Presidential social media posts as "Presidential records," subject to the same record-keeping requirements as hard-copy memos, executive orders, etc.

The bill, entitled the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement Act, or the COVFEFE Act, would amend the Presidential Records Act to include social media.

For the record, I agree with this idea, but I also recognize that it starts us down a slippery slope. At point do public records end and privacy for the President begin? For that matter, is the PResident allowed private communications at all, or does even a birthday card to Ivanka fall under the record-keeping requirements?

Granted, in trump's case, the social media thing makes a lot of sense. I mean, the guy exhibits the social media equivalent of uncontrollable explosive diarrhea, tweeting whatever happens to pop into his wittle orange head at any given moment, with no apparent thought to the aftermath.

I mean, he left Sean Spicer with the unenviable task of trying to convince people that "covfefe" was an actual word and that it makes sense on some level, instead of what it was: a typo. An unfinished tweet that got sent by mistake.

Don't get me wrong. I am not defending trump here. The guy is a walking tire fire, the orange personification of a sexually transmitted disease, a gargantuan, empty-headed buffoon who is as likely to launch a nuclear first strike against the Washington Post as he is to brag about his Electoral College victory. But this Act does raise serious questions about where to draw the line when it comes to Presidential privacy concerns.

My personal take is that, because trump does announce things that are, by nature, public (such as challenging James Comey to an under-oath testimony battle, or ranting against the courts for upholding the Constitution when he tries to institute a travel ban ... or, for that matter, bragging about the travel ban in the first place), his tweets should fall nuder the purview of the Presidential Records Act. This is not so much to try to hold him accountable for the batshit crazy things he says -- we've tried that, and he and his cronies simply deny he said what there is a video record of him saying -- as to provide future generations with a cautionary narrative explaining why the United States ceased to exist beginning in 2017 and why it was replaced by a third-rate banana republic run by an obese loudmouth with no clue as to what the hell he is doing.

I personally am in favor of this bill. I realize that Republicans in Congress may very well kill it before it goes anywhere, but at least it starts the conversation.

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