Two Corinthians walk into a bar.
One asks, “Have you read Verse 9/11 of the Koran?”
The other replies, “Covfefe.”
They exchange knowing nods and ask the bartender to put on Fox “News.”
What started as an obvious instance of the Tweeter-in-Chief attempting to spell “coverage” when something shiny caught his wandering eye has become a global phenomenon for the devout on both sides of the Trump Divide. Haters mocked the president in every conceivable fashion; diehards sought every inconceivable way to validate their naked emperor’s latest public testimony to his glaring unfitness for office.
The mockery of “covfefe” is deserved, easy to grasp. Accepting the alternative requires gyrations no rational mind could perform without complete dislocation from objective reality. Ever the dutiful servant, Sean Spicer tried, anyway. .
The sad-eyed White House spokesgnome insisted that his abusive elf king had meant to type “covfefe.” This was no typo. Trump was sending a coded message.
“The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant,”
Turns out Spicey was right. Small groups of Trump cultists took less than a business day to interpret “covfefe” as ancient Arabic for “I will stand up.” Like countless other ridiculous attempts to excuse Trump’s erratic, embarrassing utterances, this “covspiracy” theory spread across anti-social media like lidocaine after a long day at the beach.
I initially dismissed the alternative-fact backlash as a joke. Surely no one could believe that a man with zero command of the English language could suddenly master a foreign tongue and send a secret message using a word that doesn’t exist. Then the taunting Facebook posts, condescending tweets and flaming emails began.
The unhinged gist: Trump is an infallible Messiah who was speaking in tongues. He had just punked every Godless snowflake who fails to recognize his manifest greatness and rejects the holy scripture His Majesty has benevolently deigned to share with God’s sullen children via Twitter. How can a man who can do no wrong create a typo? The Lying Liberal Media does it all the time. They’re just jealous Enemies of the American People.
Again, my first instinct was to ignore this latest Trump-inspired attack on objective reality, but the virulence of its expression and the rabid certainty of its angry adherents took me back to 2003, when another messianic president and his cultists were pulling out all the stops to justify war with Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11, and, as we so expensively learned, no weapons of mass destruction.
Using Trump’s own words, America was “sold a bill of goods.” He was right about that. Part of that sale was a anti-social media campaign that presented an invasion of Iraq as religiously ordained. It wasn’t that Dubya and Darth Cheney wanted to make war; the battle was scripted more than a thousand years in advance.
This fake news nugget helped rally millions of Americans to support the disastrous invasion of Iraq. Nearly 15 years and incalculable squander of blood and treasure later, it is still circulating on anti-social media.
Here it is, in all its counterfeit glory:
For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace.
In review, there is no Verse 9:11 in the Koran. It was invented by cynical, soulless opportunists to con the American People into supporting the greatest foreign policy blunder in U.S. history. Fake news has real consequences.
Until next time, covfefe.