According to a document issued by the House Oversight Committee and signed by chair Jason Chaffetz and Congressman Elijah Cummings, Donald Trump’s Twitter activity could be more than just overly dramatic and beneath the dignity of the office – it could also be breaking the law.
In a letter addressed to the president’s counsel, Chaffetz and Cummings expressed the committees concerns about the president’s tweets – in particular, the several that he has tweeted since becoming president.
In the letter from Congress, Chaffetz and Cummings noted their long-standing history of defending the Presidential Records Act, a well as acting as a watchdog for any government official not correctly following these record act laws. In this case, the POTUS is no exception.
Said the letter:
“Additionally, President Trump uses at least two Twitter accounts: an official White House account (@POTUS) and an account that predates his inauguration (@realDonaldTrump). Many of the messages sent from these accounts are likely to be presidential records and therefore must be preserved. It has been reported, however, that President Trump has deleted tweets, and if those tweets are not archived it could pose a violation of the Presidential Records Act.”
When President Trump issues a tweet, it is often error-laden and grammatically incorrect. Frequently, the POTUS has deleted and re-posted a tweet in order to correct the grammer of a previous error. When he deleted this tweets or any others, according to the House Oversight Committee, he is violating the Presidential Records Act.
Though the previous administration did not use Twitter in the same way, the oversight committe noted in their letter that President Obama’s Twitter account was equipped with an auto-archiving program which saved each tweet issued in the president’s name, usually signed “-O.” Though President Trump uses Twitter far more often than Obama ever did – and on a far more personal level – these same archiving techniques have not been employed.
While its hard to imagine that President Trump could face real backlash from simply deleting a few tweets, this is virtually uncharted territory in regards to the Presidential Records Act. Whether the POTUS faces consequences for his violation, it is just further evidence of the way that this administration refuses to respect the basic rules and etiquette of the highest office in the land.