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Understanding Donald Trump’s ‘covfefe’ tweet

The US President’s tweet, which has been taken down, baffled his 31 million followers and set Twitter on fire.

world Updated: Jun 13, 2017 09:25 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Covfefe,Donald Trump,Tweet
US President Donald Trump in Washington on Wednesday.(Reuters photo)

It was a bad tweet. A mistake. And every one is allowed a few.

But the seemingly unfinished post with a typo did say a few things about the writer, President Donald Trump, the leader of the free world, and about him, the man, and his presidency.

Here is his tweet, which has since been taken down, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”.

That’s it.

“Covfefe” appears to be “coverage” misspelt. And the tweet read incomplete — there was either a missing preceding clause or one that should have followed.

He replaced it with this tweet: “Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe”??? Enjoy!”

Press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, “The President and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.”

So, let’s figure it out or at least take a shot at it.

He was/is tired/exhausted

Once you got past “covfefe” — with some forbearance — the tweet seemed to have been written by someone too tired to complete the thought. It was posted past midnight – 12.08am. That is late but not too late, even for the White House. Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama would be up around then routinely, looking at briefing papers and reading letters from citizens, with some almonds — only seven — to keep him going.

Trump, who used to run down Republican primary rivals for tiring easily — low on energy, he called them — compared to his boundless enthusiasm for action, seems to be slowing down. People noticed he took a golf cart at the G-7 when all others walked.

He was/is angry 1: ‘Fake news’ media

This is how he started the tweet before giving up: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”. He was warming up to one of his standard rants.

Trump is angry. He returned from a grueling nine-day overseas trip and is back just where he left, only worse.

He has been angry with media coverage of the Russia probe relative to his foreign tour, which his press secretary Sean Spicer described as “incredible”, “historic” and “unprecedented”.

Trump needed to settle it.

And he vented on Twitter: “Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results! … It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media.”

He was/is angry 2: #@#@ Russia probe

Trump has denied any collusion in Russian meddling, tried to protect NSA Michael Flynn and fired FBI director James Comey for not giving up, as he routinely rubbishes the probe. He is doing all he can, but it continues, with new revelations made every day even as he met world leaders abroad.

On his return, the controversy rages unabated.

He was/is alarmed: It’s Jared now!

That is his son-in-law and the most trusted adviser, the innermost circle of his inner circle. The FBI and congress are scrutinising a meeting Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner had last December with a Russian banker known to be close to President Vladimir Putin.

Investigators also want to speak to Trump’s long-time lawyer Michael Cohen.

He was/is worried: Alone, short on trust

In the early days of his presidency, there were reports Trump wandered around the White House in his bathrobes in the nights — the administration has denied he owns bathrobes — restless and alone. First lady Melania Trump was in New York for their son, Barron Trump, to complete his school year.

All by himself in the night, Twitter might have been an easy getaway. Trump is known to tweet at odd hours — his post accusing President Obama of ordering a tap on his Trump Tower offices went out at around 6.30am on a Saturday.

These nights are probably more challenging. CNN was told by someone who speaks to Trump often, “He now lives within himself, which is a dangerous place for Donald Trump to be. I see him emotionally withdrawing. He’s gained weight. He doesn’t have anybody whom he trusts.”

There has been talk of a personnel shake-up — a top White House official left Tuesday — and constant bickering among his top advisers.

He was/is spell-shocked: Coverage as covfefe

Not that it matters but in this week of the annual Spelling Bee, which in all likelihood will have an Indian-American winner, the President might have been a little more careful with “coverage”, or “covfefe”, as it’s now called.

But when is he ever careful, especially on Twitter?

First Published: Jun 01, 2017 09:42 IST