For a day they thought Trump was speaking Samoan

Thursday June 01, 2017 Written by Published in Regional

USA – For a while this week – among many things US President Donald Trump did and said to confound and confuse the watching world – was to have observers thinking he was tweeting in Samoan.


One word he tweeted came close to breaking the internet on Wednesday morning – “covfefe”.

“Despite the constant negative press covfefe,”Trump tweeted just after midnight, Washington time.

And he then appeared to have gone to bed, without finishing his thought or correcting his mistake. It was an apparent typo and internet users have been mocking him mercilessly

It took six hours before he acknowledged it with a good-humoured response, and by that time a lot of people had had a lot of fun.

Some on social media insisted that covfefe was not a typo, but actually the ancient Arabic translation for “I will stand up”.

Others deliberated on the pronunciation, and wondered why no aides had stepped in to alert him to the mistake.

Google Translate recognised the word as Samoan, though could offer no English translation.

Samoan freelance journalist  Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson wrote, tongue-in-cheek, for Huffington Post: “Do you know how excited our very small country is, that a leader of the free world has used a word in our language Spoken by a little over 200,000 people, we are indeed honoured that one of our words, or at least that sounds like one, has been used by a non-native speaker.

“As a graduate of the Centre of Samoan Studies with a minor in the examination and analysis of the Samoan language and oratory, I can confirm to you today, that the word covfefe does have some similarities to several Samoan words, and has some basis in our beautiful language.

“To be clear, covfefe is most certainly not a Samoan word by any measure, however the word ‘fefe’ itself is very much a Samoan word – it means to be afraid.

“So, dear Trump, thank you for highlighting our language this week.”

This idea was thrown out when a BBC reader  wrote in to debunk any suggestion that the president is a secret Samoan speaker.

Among many other reasons for this, the language does not even have a letter C.

Over at Comedy Central, The Daily Show’s Noah also got in a few covfefe jokes. “I don’t know about America but Donald Trump has definitely made Twitter great again. I’m just going to enjoy this moment.  People were searching ‘covfefe’ on the internet like it was a Kim Kardashian nude.”

“As much as covfefe was a gaffe,” he continued, “it must have been nice for the White House to have a Trump blunder that, for a change, didn’t threaten national security.”

CNN took the storm in a tea cup more seriously: “What we have today – and, really, what we have had since the day Trump came into the White House – is a deeply isolated president who spends lots of time, particularly at night and in the early morning, watching TV and tweeting.

            - PNC sources

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