If Mike Quigley has his way, the word “covfefe” will be codified in federal law.
This week, the Illinois congressman introduced the COVFEFE Act, which would require each one of President Donald Trump’s tweets — even the infamous typo that gave the bill its name — to be documented in national archives alongside other presidential records.
Technically, this “covfefe” actually stands for something — the “Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement” Act. And it’s part of a long-running tradition of politicians titling their legislation with snappy, topical acronyms.
But in the era of Trump, bill-naming has taken an interesting turn, with Democrats using the precious real estate atop their legislation to throw jabs at the president.
There’s the MAR-A-LAGO Act — or, officially speaking, the Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act, another Quigley-sponsored bill that references Trump’s private resort in Florida.
There’s Rep. Ted Lieu’s SWAMP Act, which aimed to “Stop Waste And Misuse by the President,” while slyly nodding at Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” campaign mantra.
There’s the RIGGED Act, which stands for “Relatives in Government Getting Employment Dishonorably.”
These personal shots are very much intentional — just ask one of the lawmakers himself.
“It took an astute and attention-grabbing acronym to highlight the real significance of this legislation, especially when dealing with a president that has a blatant disregard for open government and transparency,” Quigley told Business Insider in an email.
Democrats have also become empowered to name-check the president in their bills, removing any pretense of innocence. Between 1993 and 2008 not a single bill contained an acronym for Clinton, Bush, or Obama. Yet since January alone, we’ve already seen the TRUMP Special Counsel Act, the TRUMPED Act, and the No TRUMP Act.
“Part of it may be sort of a sign of the times,” Marc Cevasco, chief of staff for SWAMP Act sponsor Rep. Ted Lieu, told Business Insider. “He’s one of the more outlandish presidents that we’ve had. It kind of makes sense that people will respond in that way.”
Trump administration members aren’t safe from ridicule, either. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the target of Rep. Maxine Waters’s No REX Act, or “No Russian Exemptions for Oil Production.”
Cevasco said that the provocative acronyms are usually an attempt to “cut through the noise” of the media. And it takes an especially memorable one to make headlines these days, leading Quigley to believe the trend will persist.
“As this administration continues to take absurd actions that break with both precedent and reason, I expect we will see more comedic, catchy titles like this one, which help call attention to the seriousness of the issues at hand,” Quigley said.
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