'Covfefe': Trump spokesman plays down odd tweet

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"Despite the constant negative press covfefe," tweeted TrumpImage source, Twitter / Donald Trump

White House press officer Sean Spicer has sought to defend an apparently garbled tweet by President Donald Trump which baffled and amused the internet.

In a tweet posted just after midnight Mr Trump wrote "despite the constant negative press covfefe".

The tweet stayed up all night, trending worldwide to much merriment.

Asked by a reporter if people should be concerned, Mr Spicer said, "No, the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant."

Mr Trump, who presumably had meant to write "press coverage" and failed to finish his sentence, later deleted it and, acknowledging the jokes, wrote, "Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!"

That follow-up appeared at 06:09 (10:00 GMT) on Wednesday, more than six hours after the original message (posted at 00:06).

'Is nobody watching?'

"Do you think that people should be concerned that the president posted something of an incoherent tweet last night and that it then stayed up for hours?" a reporter asked Mr Spicer.

"Er, no," he replied.

"Why did it stay up so long? Is nobody watching this?" he was asked.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Mr Trump was up and about at the White House after Wednesday's Twitter storm

"No," Mr Spicer said before giving his cryptic explanation.

Others at the briefing simply asked, "What does 'covfefe' mean?" and "What is 'covfefe'?" without getting an answer.

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Mr Trump has continued tweeting from his personal account since becoming president in January, arguing that it helps him speak directly to Americans.

Aside from the frequently controversial content, the account is known for its spelling mistakes such as "unpresidented" for "unprecedented", and "honered" for "honored", as this Business Insider article recalls.

But few Trumpisms have spread like "covfefe"...

Image source, Twitter / Jimmy Kimmel
Image caption,
US comedian Jimmy Kimmel was among the celebrities to join in
Image source, Tim Robinson
Image source, Twitter / Emma Kennedy

Beyond Twitter, rail operator Eurostar got in on the joke, suggesting passengers might enjoy a "covfefe" (and even a coffee too).

Image source, EurostarJustinp

Hillary Clinton, who fought and lost the election against Mr Trump, joked in a speech to the annual Code Conference in California: "I thought it was a hidden message to the Russians."