President Donald Trump's most ardent apologists performed a little dance this week in the aftermath of the commander-in-chief's bizarre tweet that set off a nationwide search to discover what in the hell "covfefe" meant.
While several astute observers immediately noticed that Trump likely intended to type "coverage," seeing as how the president's tweet was bemoaning the bad press he's received lately, in some corners of the internet the "covfefe" tweet was earnestly taken as a cryptic message.
r/The_Donald, a popular subreddit devoted entirely to the leader they refer to as “god-emperor,” and many pro-Trump personalities on social media insisted Thursday that "covfefe" was not a typo but actually the ancient Arabic translation for "I will stand up" — a subtle nod to the Muslim world, as the theory goes.
In a now-deleted tweet, Cassandra Fairbanks, a former reporter for Sputnik News who now works for Big League Politics, a far-right politics site founded by a former staffer of Breitbart, shared with her followers that Google Translate declares that "cov fe'fe" translates to "I will stand up." Trump supporters ran with the definition from there.
Alas, Allison Hartnett, a researcher of Middle East politics at the University of Oxford's Department of Politics and International Relations, informed Salon that "cov fe'fe" does not mean "I will stand up" in Arabic. A speaker of modern standard Arabic, as well as two colloquial dialects, Levantine and Egyptian, Hartnett says that the word does not even follow proper grammar rules.
"The word in question doesn't match any colloquial or modern standard Arabic word or phrase that I know," Hartnett said in an email statement. "It includes a phoneme that doesn't exist in Arabic (namely, v) and doesn't follow verb conjugation rules."