President of the United States Donald Trump had everyone scratching their heads at midnight on May 31 after he left the mother of all cryptic tweets on Twitter. Weeks later, a lawmaker hopes to amend the POTUS’ penchant for late night garble.
On May 31, Trump posted a strange sentence fragment that gave birth to a new word: covfefe. “Despite the constant negative press covfefe,” the tweet read. And that was it—no addendum, no effort to rectify what many presumed was an autocorrect. It was almost as if Trump fell asleep thereafter. Immediately after it came out, the questions started pouring in. What does covfefe mean?
Before the covfefe post was deleted on 5:48 a.m. of the same day, it had been retweeted more than 127,000 times and “liked” more than 162,000 times, according to the Washington Post reported. Not to mention it spawned hundreds of memes and also possibly became a heated topic of discussion for seasoned linguists.
The Huffington Post’s Laglpolva Cherelle Jackson attempted to decode Trump’s covfefe, saying it has similarities to several Samoan words. According to the Center of Samoan Studies graduate, “cov” is similar to Samoan words “ko” which means “to pick a fruit” or “reach for something” or “kou” which is short for oukou which means “you people” or kakou which translates to “us people.”
“Fefe” on the other hand is an expression of mockery and translates to “fear” or “afraid.”
From that alone, covfefe didn’t seem to sound like it was a good thing. Interestingly, while most people have dismissed covfefe as a mere typo, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer went on to imply that the term was used deliberately. “The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant,” Spicer told the media.
Democratic lawmaker Mike Quigley pushed a bill on June 12 that would immortalize covfefe. The bill is aptly called COVFEFE Act, short for Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement. This act ensures that all of Donald Trump’s tweets will be recorded and preserved as part of President Records. That includes misspellings, typos, rants and other confusing banter similar to covfefe.
Under the Presidential Records Act, certain records and correspondence produced by the White House (including those from the official @POTUS account on Twitter) does not belong to the U.S. president, but instead goes to the public domain. At present, the Presidential Records Act does not cover Trump’s personal @realDonaldTrump account.
Quigley explained that Trump’s unprecedented use of Twitter calls for action, and that the bill sets guidelines “ensuring additional preservation of presidential communication and statements while promoting government accountability and transparency.”
“In order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say; this includes 140-character tweets,” Quigley said in a statement.
“If the President is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference.”
Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account has been a cause for concern for many as the 45th President of the United States has taken to it as his own unfiltered, no-holds-barred platform on the Internet.
In recent weeks, Trump used his personal Twitter to criticize London Mayor Sadiq Khan and threaten FBI Director James Comey, in which he said he would release recordings of their conversations if Comey “starts leaking to the press.”
Trump’s tirade was in response to the controversy following his dismissal Comey, who had been overseeing the FBI probe on the Russian links to Trump’s presidential campaign. The White House maintains that the former FBI director was removed from office due to the mismanagement of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
He also used this account to defend his Muslim travel ban in the wake of the pending Supreme Court ruling.
Although the name of the bill is a subtle dig at Donald Trump, Quigley’s proposal seems to be well-meaning. After all, the White House has said in a previous statement: “The president is president of the United States so they are considered official statements by the president of the United States.”
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]