Treating Trump’s Erratic Behavior Like An Inside Joke Is A Danger To Us All
If you have spent about four seconds scrolling through the internet today, you have now been introduced to the word "covfefe." If not, here's a brief history: President Trump fired off one of his famous late night tweets on Tuesday and used the word "covfefe." While the whole world snickered and shook its head, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained to a bewildered press corps that it was something of an inside joke. And no. Just no. Enough of this. Every time Trump's erratic behavior gets treated like an inside joke the rest of us cretins just wouldn't understand, it undermines the significance of the power and influence he is meant to wield as President of the United States.
When Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016, there were serious concerns about whether he would be properly equipped to take on a position of such importance. After all, he had no experience. No credentials. Much of his campaign appeared to be run by his ever-active Twitter fingers. He was a fan of slogans, of promises. A fan of pointing that very Twitter finger at everyone else without providing much in the way of practical resolutions to the issues at hand. His supporters often said he would come through and would grow into the job.
But many people are all still waiting.
The initial covfefe tweet Trump shared just after midnight was only partially written. It said:
Despite the constant negative press covfefe
That was it. For hours, the tweet sat there. Most people assumed it was a typo, a relatively innocent mistake. Press coverage, perhaps? The White House never once admitted the word was a typo. Instead, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted (in a rather imperious way) that "President Trump and a small group of people know exactly what he meant." His arrogant statement was met with laughter from the press corps. Perhaps it should have been met with indignation.
Because the presidency is a public position. His social media platform — the same one he has used to his advantage on many occasions — is not a medium for him to share private jokes. Neither is it a forum for him to air his midnight, paranoid grievances against the press, I might add, but I fear that particular ship has long since sailed. Trump's presidency is not his title — it is his job. Just as it's Sean Spicer's job to report back to the American people about the events that transpire within the White House.
The Trump administration appears to pride itself on its shroud of secrecy — of half truths and sly winks and silence. As though secrecy is a choice the president has been afforded. It is not. He is an employee, and the American people are his employers. Sure, covfefe is a funny meme, a way to get through the day. But underneath the joke, there lurks a darker problem that could go one of two ways.
Either the President of the United States has become so imperious that he no longer feels he owes the American people any explanations for his erratic behavior, or he refuses to own up to even the smallest mistake.
Either option is unacceptable.