Trump technically can’t delete any of his tweets – but he’s erased his ‘covfefe’ gaffe

There are some people in the public eye whose Twitter use is the stuff of legend.

Take JK Rowling for example, who time and time again destroys any troll who comes her way with a devastating put-down.

At the other end of the scale, arguably, is Donald Trump , 45th President of the United States of America.

Trump has infamous form for being an enthusiastic and zealous member of the Twitter community. Often with mixed results.

Remember “Easy D”?

Take his most recent tweet, for which neither context nor explanation was given.

It read: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” and, oddly, has been deleted after being left up for hours.

It’s like the sort of text many of us fire off after a skinful – a fact thousands of people were quick to pick up on.

BenDavid Grabinski ✔ @bdgrabinski
12:10 PM – 31 May 2017
2,210 2,210 Retweets 20,288 20,288 likes
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The thing is, when we fire off a typo-heavy missive into the public domain a) few people tend to notice or care b) we quickly do some damage limitation and DELETE.

When you’re the US President, especially one as vocal as Trump, people pick up on these things.

What is Covfefe? Here’s why everybody’s freaking out about Donald Trump’s most incredible tweet ever
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Joe Papp ✔ @joepabike
@KSukoh @realDonaldTrump @internetarchive @POTUS this is so funny.
1:15 PM – 31 May 2017
135 135 Retweets 614 614 likes
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So given the frequency with which Trump tends to delight Twitter with ill-advised or misspelled social media declarations, it’s strange that he leaves them out there for so long to gain viral traction (and widespread ridicule).

Is he saving them for his presidential scrap book?

Maybe he’s saving all his special presidential mementos for a memory box? (Photo: Rex Features)
The answer is actually quite simple.

As president, Trump is forbidden from deleting his tweets.

Although it does depend on the nature of the Tweet, online activity such as Twitter updates can count as presidential records.

The Presidential Records Act of 1978 essentially states that anything which constitutes a Presidential record that must be preserved by the White House.

The world is keen to find out what “covfefe” means (Photo: AFP)
This means all books, correspondence, memoranda, documents, papers, pamphlets, works of art, models, pictures, photos, maps, films, audio and visual records including electronic or mechanical recordings.

The Act’s broad definitions of what embodies a record also mean tweets fall under the umbrella.

There are some exceptions to this rule.

Donald Trump ‘caught pretending to listen’ at G7 summit – after crucial mistake ‘gives him away’

Trump is bound by constitutional law (Photo: REUTERS)
According to Forbes , the President is allowed to delete a tweet if it could be argued to be a record of “purely private or nonpublic character which do[es] not relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.”

The thing about Twitter, though, is it is public, which invalidates the argument that it’s a private matter.

Trump has since mysteriously deleted “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.”

So perhaps words rhyming with “dovfefe” are also an exception.