Covfefe. Yes, I said it, blurting it out for the world to hear as my homemade spaghetti sauce hit the floor, the cupboards, my shoes and suit, avoiding the kitchen apron I wore. My dinner guest stood at the doorway, her mouth covered, laughing. Yes, the perfect evening was ruined. Covfefe.
But why covfefe? Because as a writer this latest addition to the vernacular has dogged, plagued and riddled my life with an unanswerable question ever since Trump’s notorious midnight tweet of May 31: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” Then nothing. That morning, the original tweet deleted, the president followed up: “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’??? Enjoy!”
When the president’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, was later asked whether or not people should be concerned about the “incoherent” tweet, he remarked, “No…The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.” I beg to differ. When the president takes to Twitter, there is always cause for concern as his tweets continue to be impulsive and “incoherent”.
The world has pondered the word’s meaning, my favorite being that “covfefe is the exact moment someone tackled Trump and wrestled the phone out of his hand.” While there is speculation that the president was simply trying to write press “coverage”, there is no shortage of alternative facts. What I now put forth for readers are the facts as I see it, not conjecture. The true meaning of the covfefe.
First, we need to travel back to January 20, 2017. Eight years in office, no drama. People did not laugh at him or the United States, on the contrary, he reinforced alliances and forged new ones. He helped to draft the Paris accord which Trump later repudiated. Obama was a statesman, a diplomat, the nice guy in the big white house next door who you would have offered to help trim his hedge while you worked on your own. You’d let your kids play with his knowing they would be well supervised. The Obamas seemed to be kind, mature individuals. But one day that nice family moved on and someone else moved in.
This neighbor was different, more like the type of neighbor you said good morning to before you bolted for your car. He always had an opinion but rarely based in fact. The kind of man who would literally push in front of you at a PTA photo opportunity, or openly scold the Neighborhood Watch group if he believed certain members had not paid into the Safe fund, although those neighbors were always there for you. The kind of person who would stand up in a meeting and state, “The world is laughing at us!” in spite of having no proof to this end. No, if the world was laughing they were doing so at his expense, and even more frequently now.
For someone who has only been in political office for six months, Trump’s political ineptitude, lack of decorum, the down right ignorance has far surpassed that of any other recent president. I needn’t list the incidents, even if you don’t follow politics almost everyone world wide is caught in the daily barrage of tweets like canon fire from the White House lawn. Think Nero with a fiddle and over 18 million Twitter followers.
Anyone commingling all of the above could only divine one meaning from this political satire turned reality—covfefe. The mess on my kitchen floor, the farewell to a good neighbor, and the inheriting of another so perfectly imperfect that it defied the collective words in the English language so much that we needed to start anew—covfeve.
Trump’s most tumultuous and most recent tweet seems to corroborate the media’s story that the president is now under investigation for possible obstruction of justice, a claim that while the president’s tweets supported, his legal counsel, Jay Sekulow, flatly denies. On June 14th a man with a rifle opened fire on a group of Republican congressmen practicing for an upcoming charity baseball game. Four wounded including Stephen Scalise who continues to fight for his life. The gunman dead.
Perhaps this new word is simply all these things at once, an all encompassing, multi-faceted snap shot, clearly a manifestation of these uncertain times. A word that goes well beyond the exasperation of splattered spaghetti sauce and a ruined dinner date. Covfefe, my friends. Sigh. Covfefe.