WASHINGTON (NBC) — When you went to bed Tuesday night you hadn’t heard of “covfefe.” No one had. But by early Wednesday, Twitter was abuzz about little else.
Why? The word was accidentally invented by President Donald Trump in a tweet just after midnight ET.
Instantly broadcast around the world, the message confused, delighted and horrified many of Trump’s 31 million followers.
People had questions. What does it mean? Is it a secret code? How do we pronounce it? And why did it take almost six hours for Trump or one of his advisers to delete it?
The message was finally removed at around 5:50 a.m. ET. But until then there had been no follow-up or explanation for the original message.
The word quickly became a trending topic across the United States and Europe.
Inevitably, memes began to spring up lampooning what appeared to be an unfinished sentence and a typo for the word “coverage” — or was it?
Others wondered if “covfefe” had another meaning…
…or was it some revolutionary form of communication that had gone over everyone’s heads?
The word sparked several parody accounts, which quickly invented their own “covfefe” folklore and backstory.
..or was there another explanation?
Others were already eyeing up potential retail opportunities.
It was far from the first time Trump has been guilty of firing off late-night typo-strewn messages from his official account — although it may have been the most spectacular.
Away from the hilarity, many wondered why the message took hours to be deleted. Would he or his aides be as slow to remove a mistaken message that was inadvertently problematic in its content?
In the end, Trump finally posted a follow-up message that appeared to laugh at his own mistake.
But that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from continuing to enjoy “covfefe.”