by Graham Pierrepoint
Donald Trump is probably the most famous Twitter user on the planet right now – a social media network once having hosted the likes of Stephen Fry and Lady Gaga as their most popular followers, the US President has been using his account alongside his work as Commander in Chief. It’s a fairly odd insight, regularly, into the day to day life of the President – and while many find his tweets to be largely commentary on various issues and how he is perceived in the media, he does sometimes let out an occasional surprise that gets leapt upon by all and sundry.
Covfefe – a term which has gone viral within the space of just a few hours – appeared at the end of one such Trump tweet, occurring after midnight from the White House on Tuesday. It’s a term which has no inherent meaning – but its context is key. Trump’s whole tweet reads ‘Despite the constant negative press covfefe’ – a bizarrely truncated statement which appeared to have initially intended to run on to defend his Presidency against media reporting. However, the nonsensical word that appears to stop the tweet mid flow has taken on a life of its own in the media – either showing that the world really has gone mad, or that it is a clever form of fighting back against Trump.
Many have speculated that the appearance of ‘covfefe’ suggested that the President was interrupted during his message, entering and sending gibberish by mistake. The tweet in question appears to have since been deleted, however, thousands of people took screenshots and quickly circulated images – leading many question, given the timing of the statement, whether or not Trump fell asleep while sending the message.
Regardless of the truth – and with Trump having recognized the rise of the meme in a knowing statement later on in the day on Monday – the speed at which the gibberish has taken on meme status is something of a phenomenon. Either it is testament to how quickly news catches fire in 2017, or it shows just how quickly Trump’s words spread – and how many people are willing to make fun out of his tweets in the process. Some media outlets are going as far as to call covfefe a new ‘official word’ – let’s not go that far just yet – but as memes go, this one rolled out very quickly indeed.