Is “covfefe” a metaphor for Donald Trump’s presidency?
Some critics think so. A president who sometimes (OK, a lot of the time) tweets intemperately now tweets a nonsensical word in an incomplete thought shortly after midnight and then his press secretary insists the made-up word (a likely typo) was a word that only a small group of people understand.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer wouldn’t name the small group of people or explain what covfefe means (he expects people to believe it’s an actual word, apparently. Or maybe it’s an “alternative word.”) He also wouldn’t explain why the president’s tweet suddenly cut off and remained on Twitter for hours even as it made Trump the butt of countless Internet jokes and resulted in newly cast entries in dictionaries. “Covfefe means covfefe,” said one.
So it’s perhaps not surprising that Hillary Clinton, Trump’s vanquished general election challenger, is getting into the “covfefe” game.
Clinton tweeted about the word on May 31 in a Twitter spat with Trump. (It almost felt like October all over again.)
“People in covfefe houses shouldn’t throw covfefe,” she wrote.
Clinton was responding to a Trump barb on Twitter that read, “Crooked Hillary Clinton now blames everybody but herself, refuses to say she was a terrible candidate. Hits Facebook & even Dems & DNC.”
Let’s back up for a minute. In case you don’t know the covfefe story and are wondering what the heck covfefe means (you’re not alone there), here’s what happened with covfefe.
Shortly after midnight on May 31, the following tweet appeared on Trump’s page, which has 31 million followers:
For hours, the tweet remained on Trump’s page and sparked more than 100,000 retweets (in a very short period of time), jokes, T-shirts, memes, and complete befuddlement. No one took it down for hours.
It’s still not clear what happened. Theories abound: Did Trump fall asleep mid-tweet? Was he interrupted by something? It wasn’t drunk tweeting because the president famously doesn’t drink alcohol. Lots of people think Trump meant to tweet about “press coverage,” but, even with the word spelled right, the tweet is just a clause that is an incomplete thought.
About five hours after the tweet appeared, Trump deleted it and replaced it with this:
That didn’t stop the jokes and Twitter frenzy, and Spicer’s insistence that some people know its meaning didn’t help. “The President and a small group of people know exactly what he meant,” Spicer said. One reporter asked Spicer, “Do you think people should be concerned that the President posted somewhat of an incoherent tweet last night and that it then stayed up for hours?” to which he responded, no.
As for Clinton, she’s been increasing her rhetoric against Trump. What sparked Trump’s tweet that resulted in her covfefe reference? Clinton appeared at the Recode’s Code Conference in California and threw blame around for her electoral loss, according to CNN.
“I take responsibility for every decision I make — but that’s not why I lost,” Clinton said during the appearance, blaming the DNC (poor data, finances), James Comey (those emails), and the New York Times.
Yes, in other words, she criticized her press covfefe too.