WASHINGTON — At 12:06 a.m. ET, the President of the United States tweeted this: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.”
By 6 a.m., that tweet had been deleted. Shortly after, Trump tweeted this: “Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ??? Enjoy!”
To be clear: This is, on its face, dumb. Trump seemed to be trying to type “coverage” and misspelled it. As he often does. Then he fell asleep and didn’t correct the mistake until he got up in the morning. We’ve all been there! (OK, not all of us. But me.)
While spending time trying, as Trump suggested, to figure out what “covfefe” means is a waste, it’s far more worthwhile to take a big step back and look at the situation that leads to the President of the United States tweeting, poorly, at 12:06 a.m. about the bad press he gets.
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.
That lack of discipline reveals that there is simply no one who can tell Trump “no.” Or at least no one whom he will listen to.
That’s important. Especially now as speculation runs rampant that Trump is on the brink of a major staff overhaul and in the wake of communications director Mike Dubke resigning on Tuesday.
The animating idea behind many of these staff stories is how the people Trump brings in will affect how he acts and governs on a daily basis. That is a false premise. The simple fact is that no staffer exists on the planet who can tell Trump something he doesn’t want to hear and have him take it to heart.
“Donald Trump doesn’t want a Jim Baker,” CNN’s Gloria Borger noted Tuesday night, speaking of the legendary chief of staff for both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. “He’s his own Jim Baker. And he’s his own strategist.”
That’s 100% right. Trump doesn’t think he needs advice. So changing the names of the people giving it to him doesn’t really matter.
Trump’s ongoing Twitter presence is a perfect example of all of this.
Time and time again, Republican elected officials have politely suggested that Trump use Twitter less and differently. Use it to rally his massive online support base behind policy initiatives rather than as a tool to exact revenge on people Trump thinks have wronged him. White House staffers have done the same, occasionally floating the idea that, at one point or another, Trump finally “got it” and was going to tweet differently from there on out.
Of late, as part of a much-promised reboot, there had been talk of a “team of lawyers” vetting Trump’s tweets before he sent them out.
And then, “covfefe.”
What it should prove is that Trump is neither willing nor able to change his stripes. He is a 70-year-old man (he will be 71 on June 14) who has had much success in his life. And he believes that the way in which he was elected president — against all odds and doing everything traditional politics says not to — is an affirmation that he is the only person who really understands his supporters and the mood of the country.
That assumption is what leads him to ignore advice from advisers about, maybe just maybe, putting down his phone at, say, 10 p.m. — or never picking it up at all. Trump believes in Trump — first, last and always.
Staff will come and go. But to expect anyone to change Trump in any way is to ignore, literally, his entire adult life.
Which means more “covfefes.” Maybe many more.