First, it must be said that we all commit spelling errors all the time. Frequently we don’t realize it; sometimes we’re too lazy to change them; often we don’t detect them until after the piece is posted. It’s all perfectly normal. Those of us who care about the written word make efforts to correct our mistakes, but the standards for social media are abysmally low, and perhaps properly so. Who’s of a mind to edit the id? It’s a contradiction in terms.
The difference here is that this misbegotten moron of a man has managed to mindlessly add a new word to the lexicon, which, unlike the limitless universe of words that have preceded it throughout recorded history, is entirely devoid of meaning. Neither noun nor verb; adjective nor adverb, onomatopoeia nor shorthand form of Come On Vote For mE For Ever, it means nothing, stands for nothing, offers nary a contextual clue, and is utterly impervious to reasoned rumination about how such a thing could arise from the mud-brained madness roiling beneath a receding forehead and scalp reduction surgery. Is it secret code? (The Proud Boys think so.) Is it French? (The French don’t think so.) Maybe Donny-boy just needs some coffee with a shot of V and an acrostic. How about let’s just add a diacritical and then force it on the French? It’s not like Marine Le Pen was a cipher.
He might have deleted the tweet, or posted a correction. He might have offered context for the word, which bears no conceivable relationship to the words that precede it, nor to any real word which it might otherwise ape. But no. He just let it stand. It’s as if a chimpanzee were given a fat-fingered keyboard, and seven consecutive letters is an accomplishment to be proud of. Covfefe, baby. Now how ‘bout a banana.
Yes, we’re all having a bit of fun at the President*’s expense, which is mighty small compensation for the fun he’s having at ours. But this has captured the national imagination for a reason. Covfefe is the perfect embodiment of the man himself — devoid of meaning, impervious to reason, non-sequiturian to a fare-the-well, and shockingly out of place. Like Trump himself, a word that means nothing can mean anything, and is easily conscripted to mean everything. This was his entire campaign. This is his entire presidency. This has been his entire life — free from fact, devoid of substance, and absent truth of any kind, save the indefatigable pursuit of the almighty dollar.
So covfefe means something after all. It’s not French; it’s not code; it’s not an acronym, nor a new perfume by Melania. It’s much simpler than all that. Covfefe means greed.