If you haven’t looked it up already – don’t bother.
Just after midnight in Washington, Donald Trump tweeted: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” That was it. No more. Just that word “covfefe” left hanging there.
It left many of his 31 million followers on Twitter baffled, and slightly concerned.
The tweet had been active on Trump’s account without comment or clarification overnight and was not deleted until shortly before 6am the following morning. Trump replaced it with a tweet reading: “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’ ??? Enjoy!”
That it had not been immediately deleted was confusing to users who, in the hours between the two tweets, had indeed tried to work out what, exactly, Trump might have meant.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary, which has a track record of fact-checking Trump’s tweets and neologisms on Twitter, decided to sit this one out.
Others suggested the tweet had taken the heat off US comedian Kathy Griffin, who had earlier been under fire for posting a video in which she held a replica of Trump’s severed bloody head.
Kristina Wong, a US comedian, observed that the domain Covfefe.com had been promptly snapped up.
The actor Zach Braff predicted Sean Spicer’s wholehearted defense of the word.
“Covfefe” was trending in the US as Twitter rushed to get its gags in.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived covfefe
May 31, 2017
Trump has been known to tweet on both Android and Apple devices in the past, but the “covfefe” tweet had been sent from the Twitter app on an iPhone.
The news site Axios had reported on Thursday that the president’s current device was an iPhone with only one app: Twitter.
It cited anonymous White House officials who said that limiting screen time was key to “forcing a more disciplined President Trump”, as witnessed on his overseas tour:
In Trump’s case, it’s curtailing his time watching TV and banging out tweets on his iPhone. Trump himself has been pushing staff to give him more free time. But staff does everything it can to load up his schedule to keep him from getting worked up watching cable coverage, which often precipitates his tweets. It has worked well overseas so far.