When Donald Trump’s presidency eventually comes to an end, we’ll all look back on May 31, 2017 as the day he finally united us all. Just after midnight, President Trump crafted a tweet that befuddled, bewildered and beguiled the internet. He’s since deleted it, but Esquire writer Luke O'Neil screengrabbed it beforehand.
That’s it. No follow up. No explanation. Just… “covfefe.” If you saw the tweet within minutes after it was posted, you probably screengrabbed it for posterity. Surely Trump—or it least one of his many handlers—would notice the mistake and delete it. But there it sat, for hours, as the world came to terms with the fact that the leader of the free world would fail a remedial class on how to use social media.
It wasn’t long before “covfefe” was trending worldwide, as both professional and amateur comedians alike sharpened their claws.
Zach Braff imagined how Sean Spicer would try and spin his boss’ creativity:
“Not only is covfefe a word, it’s the greatest word ever uttered.” pic.twitter.com/kWhfLrFaKn— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) May 31, 2017
The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum had far grimmer interpretation:
It’s been five minutes. What if this is it. That is his final tweet & the rest of history stops.— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) May 31, 2017
Not even the English language’s great gatekeeper could make sense of what the president meant:
Wakes up.— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) May 31, 2017
📈 Lookups fo…
Regrets checking Twitter.
Goes back to bed.
Some observers just couldn’t believe how long the tweet remained up, and refused to call it a night until someone from Trump’s camp removed it:
I was about to go to bed but I guess i have to stare at this covfefe tweet until it goes away now— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) May 31, 2017
That moment didn’t come until about 6 a.m., and by then, “covfefe” had moved far beyond the realm of quirky internet ephemera and into the world’s lexicon.
TRUMP: What happens if they uncover the plot & want to arrest me.— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) May 31, 2017
PUTIN: We’ll pull you out. Just tweet out the code word “covfefe”
Donald Trump totally figured out the true ending of Alien: Covfefe— Leila (@leilaclaire) May 31, 2017
Covfefe. There, I participated.— Tasneem Raja (@tasneemraja) May 31, 2017
what makes me saddest is that I know I’ll never write anything funnier than #covfefe— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) May 31, 2017
Even Trump decided to have fun with his misstep with a follow-up tweet.
Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ??? Enjoy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
Trump’s gaffe made us all step our tweet game up, and isn’t that one of the president’s jobs—to inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves? But a closer look at “covfefegate” reveals a deeply troubled man who just isn’t getting any better at his job. What’s even more troubling is that no one on Trump’s team seems able to reign him in.
We can only assume that with “covfefe,” Trump actually meant to tweet “coverage,” which means that once again, he was alone in his quarters in the middle of night, tweeting about the media. He lost concentration mid-tweet, and tried to laugh it off in the morning. When there’s little difference between the POTUS and every frat boy in America, we have a problem.
Also, we should say that “covfefe” is hilarious and everything, but it comes after the White House moved to curtail the employer mandate to pay for birth control as part of a healthcare package and just before Trump will likely withdraw America from the historic and necessary Paris climate agreement.