al franken
Franken: Covfefe means 'I gotta go to bed now'
00:41 - Source: CNN

Editor’s Note: Danny Cevallos (@CevallosLaw) is a CNN legal analyst and an attorney practicing in the areas of personal injury, wrongful conviction and criminal defense in New York, Pennsylvania and the US Virgin Islands. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

Story highlights

Donald Trump sends out mangled tweet using a word that doesn't exist, then jokes about it

Danny Cevallos: Mistakes rife on social media, but shouldn't President have higher standard?

CNN  — 

Shortly after midnight early Wednesday, President Donald Trump mystified his Twitter followers with this tweet with no context: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.”

That tweet was deleted about 5.50 a.m. ET Wednesday.

At 6:09 a.m., Trump tweeted again: “Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ??? Enjoy!”

Most people woke up Wednesday morning to the smell of fresh covfefe. It’s already an Internet meme, and symbolic of this administration’s major theme so far: distraction. Asked what “covfefe” meant, Sen. Al Franken joked on CNN’s “New Day” that it’s a Yiddish term for “I gotta go to bed now.”

Here’s the thing: We know Trump probably meant to type “coverage.” We’ve all hit send with an embarrassing typo or worse, an autocorrect that changed the meaning of a text message or a social media post. But when you CSI this particular tweet, it reveals some concerns about this President.

First, covfefe is so misspelled that his smartphone apparently didn’t make any suggestions. Well, maybe it did. Let’s test this. For “covfefe,” my iPhone suggests … um …


I did sort of expect “coverage,” I have to admit.

I’m still very, very certain that the President meant “coverage” and not “Confederate.” I would have taken “coffee” as a correct answer, too!

But second, and more concerning, is the incomplete sentence. What happened after POTUS typed “despite the negative press covfefe”? Did he doze off and hit send? What’s he doing when he is tweeting that late? We hope he’s engaged in important phone calls and briefings, but then again, what if the tweeting is what’s distracting him from those phone calls and briefings?

Third, he is definitely not paying close attention to his tweets. Now, with almost every other citizen on the planet, that’s fine. Twitter is for fun. But he’s the President. His tweets matter. A lot.

Fourth, his correction. I’m all for presidents having a little fun at their own expense. But sometimes Trump’s efforts at humor feel more like he’s having fun at our expense, not his. We’re not supposed to be pranked by our president. As much as he may dislike the press, he shouldn’t “Baba-Booey” them with goofy tweets.

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    But maybe this is a stroke of genius. Maybe Trump has figured out that with a few dopey “tweeypos” (trademark pending, and I want a nickel every time it’s used), he can direct press resources away from some other maneuver.

    The media coverage of a word that meant coverage has just begun. If you’re Trump, or even a high-profile criminal defendant or controversial figure, today’s the day to enter a plea or have something else bad happen to you. We’ll be too busy consuming hot covfefe to notice.