The Corner

Politics & Policy

L’affaire Covfefe

By now everyone knows that President Trump tweeted something weird last night: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.”

All reasonable people assumed it was a typo. A lot of people had fun with it. Some people made a big deal about how the president is up at midnight tweeting unvetted junk. That’s a debate for another time.

A few minutes ago, however, Sean Spicer was asked about the covfefe tweet and he said that “the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.” If you believe, as I do, that this was just a silly typo, this is ridiculous. Going by the audio, it doesn’t sound like Spicer was joking. If he was, good. But if that’s the case, his delivery is awful.

But if he wasn’t joking, then that is so much worse. There are two possibilities. The first is that Spicer is telling the truth and that “covfefe” is some esoteric code word only a few people know. If that’s the case — which, again, I highly doubt — that is bananas. The president of the United States shouldn’t be in the business of sending cryptic messages over Twitter.

Or it’s a lie. If that’s the case, it means that this White House cannot admit even the smallest of errors. It means that Sean Spicer feels compelled to protect the myth of Trumpian infallibility at all costs, which tells us far more about this White House than Trump’s silly tweet ever did. It also means that this White House would rather have the world think that the president is transmitting secret code phrases like some handler from Telefon than admit to a typo.

Sure, it may all be trolling, but what on Earth does that get the president?

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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