Early this morning, well before the sun began to rise over the Washington horizon, a lonely world leader sat in his isolation and tweeted. He tweeted about his angst and the way the media treated him.
And he tweeted a word that nobody heard of— a word that left his great nation scratching their heads and saying “what the [bleep] is a ‘covfefe’?”
Yes, the Simpsons was right again. The leader of the free world was seemingly sitting in bed, drunk tweeting at midnight.
Okay, to be fair, he wasn’t drunk.
And to be fair again, he isn’t the leader of the free world. The real leader of the free world doesn’t have a huge social media presence and is too busy campaigning for re-election in Germany.
Why does it even matter and why am I wasting my precious time talking about “covfefe”?
Well, the problem with “covfefe” goes far beyond a simple typo. I mean, we’ve all had typos. But a world leader on a global stage should be far more cautious about what gets put before the public. After all, even some CEOs of major companies have their lawyers check their public statements before they send them out. That may be a direction the White House is moving in, as CNBC reports that lawyers may start checking Trump’s tweets.
One bad tweet could have far-reaching diplomatic ramifications.
A global leader has many followers, including the critics— foreign ones included. What a world leader says is critical to set the tone of that administration. It also sends a message to the world.
While “covfefe” means nothing and sends no real diplomatic message to anyone, it sends the subtle message that Trump really doesn’t think before he hits “send.” For a world leader, it’s critical to double-check any statement he makes to the public.
Today, it’s “covfefe”. Tomorrow, it’s a perceived nuclear threat to Germany, a national secret or even our nuclear codes (ok, that’s a stretch... or is it?). How is there any filter on what could be said by this president? Clearly, tweets are getting fired off without any vetting.
If we wanted to hear the internal monologue of a narcissist, we’d just follow Kanye West.
His angry tweets show how isolated he is.
The president should not showcase his vulnerabilities and weaknesses to the world. For someone like The Donald, who focuses so much of his energy on machismo (his handshakes are a great example), we get to see who he really is when all veils are removed in the wee hours of the night.
And what we see is a lonely old man with a bruised ego and a vendetta against the media.
As CNN said:
What we have today ― and, really, what we have had since the day Trump came into the White House ― is a deeply isolated President who spends lots of time, particularly at night and in the early morning, watching TV and tweeting.
The tweet showcases his social and intellectual immaturity.
A world leader should be poised and graceful. A world leader should pay attention to what he or she says and what the effects of it could be. A world leader’s social media accounts should not be an open mirror into the leader’s stream of consciousness. If we wanted to hear the internal monologue of a narcissist, we’d just follow Kanye West.
But the fact that we can even draw that parallel to Kanye is in and of itself very disturbing. We’re beginning to see Donald Trump as nothing more than a meme.
What’s even more disturbing is that his late night tweets tell us what he’s doing at that hour, which is a stark contrast to what his predecessor, President Barack Obama, was doing at the same hour. As The New York Times wrote, Obama used to stay awake in his solitude as well, but instead of hate-tweeting the media and his political rivals, Obama would comb over briefings and write his speeches.
In short, “covfefe” doesn’t matter. It’s just another useless diversion from real news, such as the two brave men in Portland who lost their lives to a White Supremacist, the Kabul attacks this morning, or the fact that Trump’s recent visit to Europe created rifts with many global leaders.
As much as I love comedy, when will the White House give stop giving us meme-worthy moments and SNL-worthy press conferences?