Inside Jokes Are One Thing
As most of the internet did yesterday, I had a great laugh over the photos and memes and comments generated by President Trump's #covfefe blunder yesterday. Certainly, images such as "maybe he's born with it, maybe it's covfefe" and the exchange between Covfefe the Strong and the Wizard Covfefe pretty much won the internet, but it was White House press secretary Sean Spicer who sent the pundits back on their heels (again) and led to a head scratching moment.
It should have come as no surprise to Mr. Spicer that covfefe would be on the agenda - it had made virtually every single news network's morning broadcast - and so he should have been prepared with something - anything, really - simple by way of explanation for a news-hungry press corps. Hell, even Hillary Clinton admonished her presidential opponent in the election a few hours ago on Twitter, tweeting to @realdonaldtrump that "People in covfefe houses shouldn't throw covfefe."
Spicer should have come in with some sort of logical explanation for the president's cryptic tweet, where pretty much everyone could say that he meant to write the word "coverage". Now, Spicer has blown this "covfefe" fun into something really big - and even more cryptic. At last night's White House press briefing, Spicer told the press, "The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant."
What the what?
Trump has not been shy about admitting to a vast vocabulary in the past; certainly, this appears to be one of the things he is quite certain about.
"I know words. I have the best words," said Trump during an appearance at Hilton Head, North Carolina in December 2015.
Indeed, Mr. Trump? Certainly, thanks to you and your highly talented press secretary Sean Spicer, there's now a sense that covfefe is well on its way to entering into the next series of dictionaries. No one knows what it means, but what the hell? So long as the president and a small group of people knew what he meant, it's all good.
Covfefe The Strong And The Wizard Covfefe
Is It Code?
So Spicer's response to the covfefe conundrum leads to further questions, and for me, they feel a little more than worrisome.
Who is this "small group" that Spicer referred to? Barron Trump's young friends and relatives? Steve Bannon et al? Trump's handlers who at this point might be looking for new work since their charge simply won't put Twitter away for once?
What could the word even mean?
Sure, Trump's follow up tweet which exhorted users to determine the meaning of covfefe was likely a way to simply show that he intended to type that word in the first place, but with Spicer's response to it, the public has a whole new set of questions to deal with. One of the big ones would be trying to figure out whether the president has either started to slide into senility and just won't acknowledge it, or whether Spicer's response to covfefe was generated by Trump himself to make it seem as though Trump actually knew what he was doing in tweeting it out. Could this be some sort of huge cosmic joke that Trump is trying to orchestrate on us, and we're simply blind to it?
Making "covfefe" suddenly some sort of mysterious code word that only the president and a few select individuals would know about makes the president and his inner circle seem even more ridiculous than they already have become. It can also lead him to a great deal of trouble; some of the president's statements have been used against him through the range of legal proceedings he's been facing in recent months, and his lawyers and aides have been fighting with him to stop using Twitter with the stunning frequency that he does.
It's one thing to tweet; it's quite another to vent, and that appears to be Trump's favorite way of using Twitter. Even if you looked at the structure of the covfefe tweet - "Despite the negative press covfefe" - it's not a far stretch to assume that the president was setting up to barrage the press once more about how horrible any news agency has been to him.
But Spicer's assertion that "covfefe" was something that only a "small group" knew about leads to uncomfortable questions, and I don't know that Spicer even meant his response in that vein.
After all, there's only so much covfefe one can take.