Hey, did you hear? Ethiopia shut down the internet to stop kids from cheating on exams. You didn’t? Huh. That’s usually the kind of thing that makes it onto everyone’s timeline. What about the results of the National Spelling Bee? That didn’t make it to your Facebook wall either? Well, that’s what happens when the internet can’t even settle on one thing to be obsessed with. It’s been an epoch-making—or maybe that should be epoch-breaking—week, and it’s OK to have been overwhelmed by it all. In case you let your attention wander during the past seven days, here’s what you might have missed.
What Happened: Hands up, everyone who thought that maybe, just maybe, President Trump wouldn’t pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement. We have some bad news…
What Really Happened: ICYMI, the president announced last week that America would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, becoming one of only three countries in the world that hasn’t signed onto it. (Of the other two, one didn’t sign on because the Paris accord’s emissions restrictions didn’t go far enough.) Sure, this feels like a big deal, but what did Twitter think?
Fact: The only world leaders that think the Paris Accords are too tough are Trump and Assad. We are to the right of Kim Jung Un and Putin
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) June 1, 2017
Trump pretends he will “renegotiate” Paris – which is a voluntary non-binding pact. Renegotiate with whom? He can’t do anything – only undo.
— Philip Gourevitch (@PGourevitch) June 1, 2017
President Trump starts by saying our economy is booming then says Paris accord is crippling our economy. Which one is it?
— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) June 1, 2017
Um… does Donald Trump think the Paris Accord… is actually about Paris? pic.twitter.com/fMExBuD9Ma
— Eli Yudin (@eliyudin) June 1, 2017
Trump on climate decision: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”
Mayor of Pittsburgh: https://t.co/D1yojrwnLA
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 1, 2017
Trump ad-libs a “believe me,” which usually signals a lie, and says Paris creates massive legal liabilities for the US, which it doesn’t.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 1, 2017
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was turning the long-term sustainable health of our planet into a partisan issue.
— Matthew Monagle (@LabSplice) June 1, 2017
You know what? Let’s go to business leaders, who are almost certainly appreciating what Trump did, considering one of his rationales was that the agreement was unfair and unjust to American corporations. SpaceX’s Elon Musk, what do you think?
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
Oh, OK, that doesn’t look good. Disney CEO Bob Iger, what about you?
As a matter of principle, I’ve resigned from the President’s Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawal.
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) June 1, 2017
Well, at least the boss of General Electric will be in fav—
Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.
— Jeff Immelt (@JeffImmelt) June 1, 2017
Ouch. Well, at least it’s not like Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein joined Twitter specifically to speak out against the decision or anything.
Today’s decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.’s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement
— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) June 1, 2017
Fine. But, as the president said, he’s doing it for America and not for Paris or whatever, so obviously other American leaders will stand behind him and not band together to write an open letter condemning the decision and announcing their own intent to uphold the agreement. Actually, never mind. So, Trump’s decision wasn’t going over so well at first, but just like Newton’s third law, every opinion on Twitter will have an equal and opposite counter-opinion.
— 💎STOCK MONSTER💎 (@StockMonsterUSA) June 1, 2017
It’s official. President Trump just pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. What a great day for the United States and sanity. #MAGA🇺🇸👊
— Mike (@mike4193496) June 1, 2017
Trump’s decision on Paris accord has lefties everywhere shitting bricks. Now if they could just sh*t some rebar, we could build the wall!
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) June 1, 2017
We elected the President of the United States, not the President of Paris.
Thank you, President Trump, for putting America First.
— Amy Moreno (@VivaLaAmes2) June 1, 2017
Do you realize this proves Trump will not be swayed by globalists, his withdrawal from the Paris Accord is their nightmare.😀 #ParisAgreement
— Irma Hinojosa (@irmahinojosa_) June 1, 2017
At least now it’s clear who’ll be happy when the ecological apocalypse comes.
The Takeaway: Over to you, celebrated literary figure Kurt Vonnegut!
This seems appropriate https://t.co/GkfKUY7FOh
— Kayleigh Hughes (@kayleighqueue) June 1, 2017
What Happened: President Trump tweeted a fake word. The internet had a ball trying to define it.
What Really Happened: Early last week, President Trump tweeted a rather bizarre phrase: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” That was it. There was no punctuation, no follow-up tweet where he admitted that “covfefe” was obviously a “coverage” typo, not even a deletion of the tweet. “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” was it. For a surprisingly long time.
Less surprisingly, Twitter was fascinated.
Tomorrow’s think pieces: What is a covfefe?
— JMK 🇰🇪 (@JMKTV) May 31, 2017
make america covfefe again
— Amanda (@allyourproblems) May 31, 2017
In that moment he truly became covfefe. pic.twitter.com/k34cO928dv
— Courtney Enlow (@courtenlow) May 31, 2017
ten punk bands just named themselves covfefe https://t.co/jrXdXX1iQ6
— Jason Gay (@jasongay) May 31, 2017
When they go low, we covfefe.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) May 31, 2017
Even as the internet struggled to define the word, the myth of covfefe grew. (Multiple definitions can be found here, if you’re looking.) Multiple outlets pondered and snarked about its meaning, and even Hillary Clinton got in on the joke. Although President Trump deleted the tweet later, he replaced it with something to keep the story going:
Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ??? Enjoy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
It looked as if, for once, Trump was OK with a joke at his expense. But thinking that would be a mistake, as the next White House press briefing made clear:
Spicer on ‘covfefe’ tweet: “The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.” https://t.co/URM4mW8pmO
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 31, 2017
Maybe not “coverage” – Spicer says Trump intended to type #confefe – it’s a “code word” that only a select few understand . . . . . . . . .
— David Covey (@ThepaleUsher) May 31, 2017
If confefe has a meaning, Spicer should quit and write a book. He’d sell a million in a day.
— Miriam (@miriam_shulamit) May 31, 2017
Part of me admires the big brass balls of Spicer and co trying to own #confefe like he meant to tweet it all along
— Tom Savage (@MajorTomSavage) May 31, 2017
Then things got weirder, as Trump fans started arguing that Trump really was sending a secret message with the tweet. “COVFEFE IS A MESSAGE IN ARABIC!” they argued, making the case that “Trump = cultured, worldly man. Haters = idiots” because no one recognized that “Cov fe’fe” means “I will stand up” in Arabic.
Someone figured out that #Covfefe might be a message in Arabic.
Pretty interesting. If true, This is the mythic “Trump 4D Chess” in action. pic.twitter.com/SziEEeXSQ6
— Barney Franken (@BarneyFranken) June 1, 2017
— Paineful Truths (@painefultruths) June 1, 2017
Cov “fefe” Arabic means I will stand up.
— Maria Peet (@Mariapeet2) June 1, 2017
Pence: I bet you can’t get “Covfefe” to trend…
Trump: Hold my beer…
— Patriotic Millennial (@PatriotMeme) June 2, 2017
Here’s the thing, though: that’s not actually true. The New York Times had the best response to this theory: “Mr. Alnaemi, who previously worked for The New York Times in Baghdad, made a good-faith effort to see where this mistranslation may have come from. In a phone interview, he repeated the word ‘covfefe’ several times before finally laughing. ‘Come on,’ he said. ‘I’m sorry. No.’”
The Takeaway: “Covfefe,” it turns out, might just mean “You played yourself.”
Off With His He—No, Wait, Never Mind
What Happened: Wondering what not to do to get people talking about you? Here’s an idea: Don’t pretend to have beheaded the president of the United States.
What Really Happened: Continuing This Week in Outrage… well, this:
Kathy Griffin Beheads Donald Trump in Shocking Photo Shoot (PHOTO) https://t.co/UM9GHRrFf5
— TMZ (@TMZ) May 30, 2017
Now there is an image you’re not likely to forget anytime soon. While beheading a sitting president in an obviously faked, but gruesome, picture might be a way to get attention, it might not be the best kind of attention. To wit.
hey guys just got back from my coffee break what’d I miss oh Kathy Griffin is holding a bloody head
— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) May 30, 2017
This is vile and wrong. It is never funny to joke about killing a president. https://t.co/zIiuKoMyFw
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) May 30, 2017
HELLO IT IS I THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE MEDIA LEFT HERE TO SAY THE KATHY GRIFFIN THING SUCKS AND… IS BAD. PLEASE EMBED THIS TWEET ON BREITBART
— Luke O’Neil (@lukeoneil47) May 30, 2017
On the whole Kathy Griffin photo, please don’t let the narrative become “Trump supporters are outraged…” – this can’t be a partisan thing.
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) May 30, 2017
Funny story, though: That’s pretty much exactly what it became.
my feed today has mostly been liberals disgusted by Kathy Griffin and conservatives asking why liberals aren’t denouncing Kathy Griffin
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) May 30, 2017
Let’s look at the evidence, shall we?
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) May 31, 2017
-CNN still employs Kathy Griffin
-Democrat Sen. Al Franken says he “stands with Griffin”
-Liberals are defending Griffin
This is the left.
— Jeremy Nolt (@RealJeremyNolt) May 31, 2017
Left forgives Kathy Griffin who glorifies ISIS beheadings.
But not Milo, a gay man, victim of Pedophilia, for stupid comments.#pride2017
— Feisty☀️Floridian (@peddoc63) June 1, 2017
Deplorables- WHY ARENT YOU CONDEMNING KATHY GRIFFIN
Libs- We are
D- WHAT IF IT WAS DONE TO OBAMA
L- It was
D- YOU ALL ARE HORRIBLE
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) May 31, 2017
Eventually, Griffin tried to diffuse the situation.
I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong. pic.twitter.com/LBKvqf9xFB
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 30, 2017
President Trump did not accept her apology.
Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
The Takeaway: The hottest take of the whole situation:
Saw Kathy Griffin pictures without context, first thought, “oh, no, she’s got a cooking show.” Then I realized it was worse than that, even.
— John Schwartz (@jswatz) May 31, 2017
What Happened: In a week when everything seemed controversial, is it possible bad puns could bring us together?
What Really Happened: It’s been a long, stressful week, and we all just need to get back to a place of trivial, ridiculous things. Like Comedy Central’s @midnight reviving a 2014 hashtag where band names became puns using internet terminology.
— Jeff⚡️ (@JeffSarcastic) May 31, 2017
— Molotov Cocktail (@MollyCocktail) May 31, 2017
— TrivWorks (@TrivWorks) May 31, 2017
— Billy Hashtag (@Billy_Hashtag) May 31, 2017
— David E (@DaSkrambledEgg) May 31, 2017
— Brie Queso (@candidqueso) May 31, 2017
— Tamara Rose (@misstamerica30) May 31, 2017
See? Isn’t that better? Doesn’t it just make you long for simpler times when the world wide web was full of such frivolities?
The Takeaway: Oh, OK. Two more. We’ll leave you with these—you have to decide who wore it best.
— Seth Goodtime (@SethGoodtime) May 31, 2017
— Ryan (@ryanztweetz) May 31, 2017