From Presidential Tweet to Cultural Influence to Million-Dollar Racehorse: COVFEFE

Pop Culture
Covfefe, with screenshot of President Trumps tweet at top right, winning the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. (Eclipse Sportswire)

It began at 12:06 a.m. on May 31, 2017, with a tersely worded tweet of 43 characters by none other than President Donald J. Trump: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” 

The result was a viral sensation that led to memes, jokes, more tweets, and rampant speculation. Three minutes after posting the original tweet, President Trump tweeted again: “Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ???  Enjoy!”

Covfefe after winning Filly and Mare Sprint. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The White House press secretary at the time, Sean Spicer, later that same day implied that the tweet wasn’t a typo but was intentional: “I think the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.”

Well, for horse racing fans, covfefe does in fact have a meaning and a purpose and a growing community of fans. A bay filly born in February 2016 and owned by LNJ Foxwoods stable was subsequently named Covfefe by Jamie Roth, one of the principals of LNJ Foxwoods. 

“We gave the name to her because we thought she was special and we thought the name was kind of funny,’’ Roth told USA TODAY. “Her sire’s Into Mischief and her dam is Antics.’’

Covfefe has lived up to the billing and the global influence of the viral tweet. The star racehorse has won six of her eight career races, including capturing the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, and has earnings of $1,110,025. 

Covfefe also is a finalist for champion 3-year-old filly and champion female sprinter at the upcoming 2019 Eclipse Awards, which recognize excellence in Thoroughbred racing. 

The 49th annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony take place on Thursday, Jan. 23, at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

The cult of Covfefe grows as Old Smoke Clothing Co., a clothing and lifestyle brand based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with a focus on the sport of horse racing, has launched a line of Covfefe products, including a T-shirt, hoodie, and hat.

The tweet-inspired, star racehorse, who has her own Twitter handle @CovfefeHorse, even caught the attention of CNN’s Jeanne Moos after her scintillating Breeders’ Cup victory, and inspired a video feature, further cementing Covfefe the racehorse and the term deeper into the mainstream consciousness:

CNN Video Feature

The influence of the covfefe meme spans beyond politics and sports. Urban Dictionary added an entry for covfefe defining it as: “It literally means covfefe.” The popular word game “Words with Friends” added covfefe to its dictionary in June 2017. A variety of merchandise items resulted, and the term even inspired several board games, a caffeine tracker app, puzzles, toilet paper, and other unique products.

Pop culture also seized on the term. In 2018, a book “The Ransom that Lies Demand: We the People and Covfefe” was published; make-up artists for “RuPaul’s Drag Race” designed a wig called “Covfefe”; and the Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library, a project of “The Daily Show,” featured a piece dedicated to covfefe.

Journalist Adrienne LaFrance captured the significance of the covfefe tweet in a story for The Atlantic in January 2019: “Covfefe remains the tweet that best illustrates Trump’s most preternatural gift: He knows how to captivate people, how to command and divert the attention of the masses.”

Will Covfefe, the racehorse, take home one of Thoroughbred racing’s highest honors on Thursday evening, make more headlines, and continue to captivate racing fans across the country? Stay tuned.

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