In 'covfefe', Donald Trump has coined an immortal term for an inept administration

The US President's half-finished late night tweet is the purest expression of his increasingly floundering presidency. He can't get his messaging right even at the simplest level

Christopher Hooton
Wednesday 31 May 2017 14:05 BST
Donald Trump creates social media storm with 'covfefe' tweet

There will be people who will tell you that “covfefe” is a distraction from the real damage being done by Donald Trump’s administration, that it’s just a typo and not worthy of all the news stories, tweets and memes it generates. On the contrary, this is a significant moment in the lexicon.

Covfefe is the inevitable result of a President who uses Twitter – a definitive, indelible medium for communication, however prone to silliness it may be – as though it were akin to passing notes in class or setting the world to rights down the pub. As a means for disseminating information, it is every bit as important (if not far more) as a press briefing or a public speech, yet Trump approaches it with reckless spontaneity, firing out bile without even a thought for spelling, let alone global diplomatic implications.

Covfefe (pronounced, as is my preference, cov-fee-fee) could be the result of the President falling asleep mid-tweet, of finally having his phone ripped out of his hand by a despairing aide, or simply an example of his internal motherboard finally frying under the strain of the ferocious ineptitude coursing through his circuits. Whatever the case, it is an error that speaks volumes – particularly in its usage in a sentence about the press “attacking” him, his almost daily rebuttal of self-victimisation, and in how it still, at the time of writing, has not been deleted.

How can the so-called Leader of the Free World (a title increasingly being handed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel) allow a half-finished, nonsensical sentence such as this to not only be submitted to the world, but not be swiftly corrected?

The gaffe is a crystallisation of an embattled White House; one where everyone is so frantic and disorientated and struggling to keep it together that there isn’t even time to spot a moment in pop culture that is corroding what little remained of the US President’s integrity. It’s Sean Spicer hiding behind a bush. It’s staffers being advised to start “lawyering up”.

Trump will wake in a few hours and see the 100,000 or more retweets that he’s attracted overnight. Most would laugh it off, maybe even make a self-deprecating quip about it themselves. The jokes would die down.

Trump, however, is a man completely incapable of appreciating humour at his expense, thus making “covfefe” immortal: a noun to define his presidency and other political failures that follow it; a term for the terrible, the badly prepared, the bungling, the hypocritical, the ill-conceived, and every mis-sold mess such as the one we’ve witnessed the past few months.

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