Folks, this is BIG. Late last night, Trump sent out this tweet, which he later deleted:
It inspired a lot of speculation, and a lot of questions. Chief among them, “what is covfefe?” It also inspired a lot of good jokes. Some thought it was nothing more than a simple mistake, but Sean Spicer put to rest the theory that it was random, or a typo, or that it lacked meaning:
But nobody solved the riddle, even after this direct challenge from Trump himself:
Well, Mr. President, you just fished your wish, because we cracked the damn case. It took time and a whole lot of mental energy, and it wasn’t easy, but we effing did it. We assembled a team of Paste’s foremost codebreakers at two in the morning, ingested lots of coffee and whole fistfuls of Adderal, and just an hour ago we had our big breakthrough. Now, we invite you to follow us on a journey of discovery.
The first small hint came when a renegade crossword enthusiast with weird maps covering the walls of his home, who asked to be called “Red Tango,” found an online Cyrillic keyboard here. Here’s the template:
What would happen, Red Tango wondered—understanding that everything with Trump, ultimately, comes back to Russia—if you typed “covfefe” on this keyboard? It turns out, you get the following Cyrillic symbols:
Unintelligible, for an English speaker. But when you plug it into Google Translate, you get this:
Hmmm… “Covet.” Fascinating. Stil, a total enigma.
That’s when Red Tango had the final breakthrough. On the picture of the keyboard, you’ll notice that the key that corresponds to the “s” on an English keyboard holds a “C” in the Cyrillic version. Perhaps Trump added one layer of deception—perhaps instead of typing the American “C,” you are meant to type the Cyrillic “C,” and leave the rest of the word the same. When you do so, you get the following word:
And when we go back to Google Translate, we find:
YESSSS! THE WORD IS SOVIET!!! EAT YOUR HEART OUT, SARAH KENDZIOR AND CLAUDE TAYLOR AND THAT GAME THEORY GUY! WE JUST CONSPIRACIED THE SHIT OUT OF YOU!!!
There you have it: Donald Trump tweeted out the code-word “Soviet,” obviously as a message to his Russian handlers, and then got so smug about his code that he openly defied the entire world to divine his hidden agenda. Well, Mr. Trump, I think we just proved that in this country, there are still one or two real journalists left. And it looks like you just ran headfirst into a little thing we like to call “The Free Press Amendment.” (Sorry, we forgot which number that was.) Good DAY, sir!
(Note: We understand that this post is batshit crazy, but at the same time, we fervently hope many Trump supporters fail to notice this disclaimer and get very angry. Also, thank you to the actual source who prefers not to be named, but who pointed out the Cyrillic keyboard/Google Tranlsate thing and gave us permission to run wild.)