WeRateDogs, a Twitter account and site that does exactly that, jumped on the “covfefe” train after Donald Trump tweeted out a word that didn’t exist before Wednesday morning, but by this afternoon, somehow became part of the lexicon of everyone you know.
The WeRateDogs account started tweeting with the instantly trending “word” and then whipped up some hats to sell on their site alongside other merchandise. The “Covfefe AF” hat was born—and as a bonus, with the $23 purchase a donation to a charity.
In a “pupdate,” the site announced that half of all hat profits would be donated to Planned Parenthood. It seemed like a solid plan—until it wasn’t.
Things immediately got political, and fast. Responses to the Planned Parenthood donation decision started pouring in, and Trump supporters, pro-life advocates, and other conservatives were not amused by an apolitical dog-ranking site stepping into the abortion debate.
The backlash on Twitter was swift:
I am unfollowing. Enjoyed it before. Hopefully someone else starts a new dog rating twitter
— Chris® (@cali_chriss) May 31, 2017
it really isn’t even about the politics per se, it’s about the needless politicization.
— Reverend Blue Moon (@Rev_BlueMoon) May 31, 2017
You’re about dogs. Do something for a dog charity. Why alienate so many followers
— Julie Winkler (@rhoady9) May 31, 2017
Why would you do that instead of, like, the Humane Society?
— Maxwell (@maxplaining) May 31, 2017
I would have hoped a dog rescue organization would have been a higher priority.
— Doggos of Seattle (@DoggosOfSeattle) May 31, 2017
While a good portion of negative responses ridiculed Planned Parenthood as an organization, most people were more concerned that a dog-focused account didn’t contribute to something that helps animals, let alone, something way less politically charged.
Later Wednesday, account owner Matt Nelson posted a three-photo explanation of what went down. The site owner said at first he thought the Planned Parenthood donation idea “was perfect” and the site initially got positive feedback.
But overnight, he realized “I let my personal beliefs infiltrate an account that’s not meant to share them.” The ranking account started as a joke in 2015 and Nelson said he’s “still learning.”
He said the Planned Parenthood donations are going forward as planned, but per the countless suggestions to donate to a dog shelter the site is doing just that. Nelsn said the site would match the Planned Parenthood donations to a local shelter.
Nelson included an apology for anyone he offended. “Alienating a portion of my audience is stupid and unnecessary,” he said, “Dogs are bipartisan and that’s why my following is diverse and my account brings people together.”
And this is all just, more than anything else, covfefe AF.