The “laurel” or “yanny” fever — and it is a fever — sweeping across the nation reached its peak on Thursday when the White House released a video to social media with all of its key players weighing in on the least controversial viral controversy in recent memory.
The video begins with Ivanka Trump — she of the “laurel” camp — and includes appearances by deputy press secretary Raj Shah, another “laurel” person, adviser Kellyanne Conway, and Vice President Pence, who asks, “Who's Yanny.” The video ends with a cameo by President Trump who delivers the punchline.
“I hear covfeve,” Trump says from his desk in the Oval Office, referencing the infamous typo published on his Twitter account last year. On Thursday night he retweeted the White House video.
The video, diving into the phonic craze, represented a rarity for the Trump White House, a jokey parody perhaps targeted at social media that did not delve deeply into anything overtly political. But the video did attempt to make light of some points of long-standing tension.
Conway joked that while the sound she heard was “laurel,” she could “deflect and divert to yanny” if needed. Sarah Huckabee Sanders made a crack that touched on the president's attacks on news reporting he doesn't like, joking that the rumor that she heard laurel must have come from CNN, “because that's fake news.”
While the Obama White House released light videos, the Trump presidency has heralded a more polarized era, and so the attempt at a light viral video by the Trump team did not escape attention.
Jill Colvin, a White House reporter for the Associated Press, wrote that she thought the video was great.
“Can we all agree this is super well done and the kicker is perfection,” she wrote.
But we couldn't.
“All I hear is the call of death's warm embrace,” wrote Kate Aronoff, a reporter for the left-leaning In These Times.
A consensus seemed to emerge from a wide group that regardless of how you felt about the video, it had officially finished off the meme, which had already been cannibalized by corporations.
“Well,” wrote Bleacher Report social media programmer Vincent Samperio, “this is done with.”