Despite the constant negative press covfefe
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
A few times in life you get opportunities to gain deep insight. The whole “covfefe” debacle is one such opportunity. The response to the “incident” has been remarkably partisan. Leftwingers have trotted out their tired old talking points with covfefe inserted. Just look at the Twitter-replies to the Trump tweet. Russia, small hands, impeachment and on and on. The right on the other hand has explored the humorous potential embedded in the tweet. Political neutrals have gone with coffee analogies. The covfefe response is in other words remarkably partisan. It fits perfectly into the established partisan trench warfare that has dominated political discourse since Trump’s rise to power. The left utilizes every opportunity they come across to disparage Trump and undermine him. The right has fun with it and are able to take a more light-hearted approach.
I’m reminded of a recent video by freelance journalist Tim Pool. In it he recalled his recent experiences interviewing people both on the left and right side of the political spectrum. People on the right were typically up for being interviewed, while leftists were very reluctant to say anything on camera. There seems to be a pattern of distinct differences between the two political camps. There seems to be remarkably little dialogue across the no-man’s land separating the trenches. Only rude invectives and foul dirt is catapulted across the chasm. “My way or the highway” seems to be the rule. This brings us back to why the tweet hasn’t been deleted yet, three hours after posting. To me this tells me that it wasn’t entirely a mistake. There is overt intent behind it.
This is pure speculation, but perhaps Trump is trying to show us something. Perhaps he wants to highlight the partisan nature of the response. His crusade against the fake news media is constantly fuelled by endless instances of the media acting dishonestly. You can bet your house on the fact that this tweet is going to receive substantial airtime on late night “comedy” shows, news programs and on other shows. This allows Trump to say to the American people with the truth on his side that the media is vapid, unconcerned with substance and only out to get him at any opportunity that presents itself.
This tweet did not appear out of a vacuum. It fits a pattern of intentional, calculated actions on Trump’s part to undermine his opponents. He famously leaked the “John Miller” tapes to the Washington Post in order to destroy the credibility of their 20+ person “Trump dirt digging team”. Actions without surface level explanations often have deeper meaning for those hardened and experienced in political life. Remember the “I love Hispanics!” tweet? The result was wall to wall coverage of Trump + love Hispanics. Those without deep political insight shook their heads at the absurdity of the tweet. We in the loop understood that this was calculated, effective cost-effective political messaging. This strategy was election winning for Trump, and at significantly lower cost compared to traditional messaging to boot.
You don’t get to become the President of the United States without knowing a thing or two about political messaging. This was intentional, despite how Sean Spicer might spin it at the next press briefing.