At 12:06 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday, President Trump tweeted a strange sentence fragment.
“Despite the constant negative press covfefe,” the tweet read. That was it. It ended abruptly, as if someone stopped him, or he stopped himself, or perhaps he never meant to send it.
No, “covfefe” isn’t a typo, at least, not on the part of The Washington Post.
Within six hours, it had been retweeted more than 127,000 times and “liked” more than 162,000 times — making it one of his most popular tweets in months. By then it had become a massive Internet joke.
By 5:48 a.m. EDT, the tweet had been deleted. (The Washington Post saved an image of it earlier in the night.)
Twenty minutes later, a new tweet replaced it:
Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
But by then the “word” covfefe had been trending all night. One company even appeared to have made a shirt with that odd combination of letters written across the front in bold, block letters.
“Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my #covfefe,” wrote one user.
“What’s even the point of CNN if they’re not going commercial-free with #covfefe coverage?” inquired another.
“The next time I go to Starbucks I’m gonna order a grande #covfefe,” wrote one thirsty user.
— Diane N. Sevenay (@Diane_7A) May 31, 2017
The word “covfefe” does not appear in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. When searching for it on the company’s website, the dictionary suggests “coffee,” “coven,” “cover,” “covet,” “covey” and “cuvee.”
Clearly, it isn’t an English word. Some tweets employing “covfefe” offer the option to translate it from Norwegian, though that appears to be a glitch of some sort. “Covfefe” does not appear to be a Norwegian word, either.
Desperate for a definition, some Twitter users came up with a few, such as coffee or a synonym to “The Lion King’s” “Hakuna Matata.” (“It means no worries, for the rest of your days.” Some would say it’s a “problem-free philosophy.”)
— Elnathan John (@elnathan_john) May 31, 2017
Others suggested it might make a great band, or perhaps human, name.
Nine months from now there will be a flood of babies named #Covfefe.
— Zanti Misfit (@ZantiMisft) May 31, 2017
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) May 31, 2017
Fusion even launched a poll asking others to weigh in on the strange word’s pronunciation.
the best and worst thing about #covfefe will be everyone trying to pronounce it in real life tomorrow
— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) May 31, 2017
Some, meanwhile, defended Trump, pointing out that accidentally sending a half-typed tweet is a human error.
Liberals are so perfect, they've never been in the middle of typing a tweet, and then been interrupted, and accidentally sent it #covfefe
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) May 31, 2017
So many Twitter users weighed in on the apparent typo, it created two trending topics on Twitter and a Twitter moment.
The first trending topic was simply #covfefe. The other was “Rosebud,” which refers to the famous dying words of Charles Kane in the film “Citizen Kane.” Its meaning remains a mystery until the end of the movie.
I think "covfefe" might be Donald J. Trump's "rosebud."
— haunted covfefe (@zandywithaz) May 31, 2017
— ¡El Sooopèrr! ن (@SooperMexican) May 31, 2017
Orson Welles called. The answer to Rosebud is… #Covfefe
— Roof Beam Reader (@RoofBeamReader) May 31, 2017
“Citizen Kane” wasn’t the only film invoked.
— Matt Gray (@mattjgray) May 31, 2017
— Tony Moore (@TonyPixels) May 31, 2017
— Jordan VanDina (@Shrimptooth) May 31, 2017
Some reimagined famous brand slogans, replacing brand names with it.
— gastt (@gasttfromtumblr) May 31, 2017
Other users, meanwhile, raced to tweet the best “covfefe” joke. Here are but a few.
what makes me saddest is that I know I'll never write anything funnier than #covfefe
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) May 31, 2017
— Mike Gorman (@MikeGormanHFX) May 31, 2017
— Robot Joe Miller (@JoeMiller17) May 31, 2017
I overcooked the confefe! Oh nooooo! We should have a contest to give it meaning!
— Jeff Lord (@realJeffreyLord) May 31, 2017
Spicer: Look the president has been very clear on #covfefe. I think the tweet speaks for itself. I'm not going to rehash every letter today.
— Claire Wisely (@Claire_Wisely) May 31, 2017
I'm completely serious. From now on we should ONLY refer to him as "President Covfefe." #Covfefe
— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) May 31, 2017
You say "covfefe" I say "covfoffee" let's call the whole thing off!! . no… really..#Covfefe
— Anna Camp (@TheRealAnnaCamp) May 31, 2017
— Robert Allen Peeler (@popcicle) May 31, 2017
Gillian Brockell contributed to this story.
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