#donaldtrump #covfefe – Donald Trump to keep Twitter guessing. Just after midnight Eastern this morning, the president did what the president often does at odd hours: He sent out a tweet. But this one, rather than attacking a political opponent or offering up a 140-character policy position, just plain made no sense: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” Wait, “covfefe”? No one knew what it meant. Surely it was a mistake that the president would soon delete. But after five minutes, he didn’t. Then a few more passed. Before long, social media was in a mad dash to try to define Trump’s typo. News reports followed, and soon a five-alarm internet fire was burning.
When Trump was elected last fall, the not-so-funny joke on 4chan was that the United States had “elected a meme as president.” This has never felt more true than in the past couple weeks, as images of Trump touching a glowing orb and standing with an unthrilled Pope Francis have become widely Photoshopped and turned into the stuff of LOLs. Unwittingly or not, the president is always good for providing an opportunity for slightly Dadaist humor—tweeting “covfefe” in the middle of the night is just the latest example of that.
But President Trump’s latest Twitter faux pas didn’t just provide the internet something to laugh at, it played to its greatest strength: Giving meaning to the meaningless. Nearly every great meme starts with an obscure word, hashtag, or image that is then granted humor based on what the internet does with it. “On fleek,” “Damn, Daniel,” Kermit sipping tea—all of these things have meanings given to them by people online. In fact, creating and spreading new language is one of social media’s greatest skill sets. So when the president tweeted “covfefe,” everyone’s brains and fingers were primed to dive in.
And so they did. A few hours after “covfefe” consumed the internet, Trump finally deleted the tweet and attempted to wave it off with a self-deprecating follow-up that simply read, “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’ ??? Enjoy!”
Figure out the true meaning? Oh, the internet is on that.
In fairness, you get some positive covfefe from Breitfef, FOX & Ferfs, and Milo Fefenefellfef as well. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/869766994899468288 …