Hillary Clinton has poured scorn on Donald Trump’s social media use by turning a word of his own invention against him.
The US President posted a tweet on Wednesday evening in which he slammed Clinton, his former rival for the White House. “Crooked Hillary Clinton now blames everybody but herself [for losing the election], refuses to say she was a terrible candidate,” wrote Trump. “Hits Facebook & even Dems & DC.”
Clinton’s icy response?
“People in covfefe houses shouldn’t throw covfefe.”
‘Covfefe’, of course, is the now-infamous typo included in a Trump tweet posted on Wednesday morning, in which the president referred to “constant negative press covfefe.”
With no further elaboration, and with the man himself apparently having fallen asleep immediately after pressing send, the internet was left to collapse into paroxysms of laughter – and attempt to decipher what on earth the most powerful politician in the world was talking about.
While Clinton’s recycling of Trump’s typo might seem like little more than a quick-fire Twitter burn, she was also making a crucial point: although Trump frequently accuses her of refusing to accept accountability for her November election loss, he himself is the king of shirking personal responsibility.
As the political scientist Austin Sarat has previously observed in The Guardian, the president’s history of playing the ‘blame game’ is long. When his former national security adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign – after potentially incriminating information surfaced about his relationship with Russia – Trump blamed his fall on the “fake media” and “illegal” leakers.
He has blamed illegal immigrants for crime, and voter fraud for the fact that he lost the popular vote to Clinton, despite there being little to no evidence to back up either of these inflammatory claims.
And when his racist immigration order was rejected by judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Trump blamed the judges themselves – rather than accept that the order had been sloppily conceived and executed.
Speaking on Wednesday, Clinton said that she believes Trump uses his erratic Twitter presence to draw attention away from his administration’s harmful policies, describing this kind of distraction technique as a “classic authoritarian” tactic.
“It’s like ‘covfefe’ – trending worldwide!” she said at Recode’s Code Conference in California.
“Maybe for a minute you'll forget about [the White House] conspiring with Russia, or the trillion-dollar mathematical mistake in their budget, or depriving 23 million of health care.
“It’s the circus, right? It's what a classic authoritarian does.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer, meanwhile, has attempted to explain ‘covfefe’ with the following statement: “I think the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.”
He declined to elaborate any further.
Images: Rex Features