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Home / World News / Trump as ‘insurgent’, ‘dubious’: US president imagined on magazine covers

Trump as ‘insurgent’, ‘dubious’: US president imagined on magazine covers

The art of making a statement through cover images and headlines.

world Updated: Feb 10, 2017 18:42 IST
Zehra Kazmi
Zehra Kazmi
Hindustan Times
US President Donald Trump found himself on the cover of many a magazine this month, but some may not please him.
US President Donald Trump found himself on the cover of many a magazine this month, but some may not please him. (REUTERS)

Not a day goes by when Donald Trump does not dominate the news -- for an outrageous tweet or signing a controversial executive order or just hanging up on another head of state.

When Trump’s familiar orange and blond visage stares down at you from every newspaper, TV channel or Facebook timeline, how do you stand out and make a statement? Some magazines have found a solution in provocative artwork, accompanied by stark, hard-hitting headlines.

Time Magazine’s December issue, which named Trump its ‘Person of the Year’ was discussed threadbare as a politically subversive piece of art. Ostensibly, the image showed Donald Trump sitting on a chair in the Oval Office, but the lighting, posture and especially the placement of Time’s ‘M’ above his head signalled darker undertones.

In February, magazines have been on a roll, coming out with one memorable Trump cover after another. Here are five covers that really, really pushed the envelope :

The New Yorker, February 13 issue

The magazine broke with its anniversary tradition, opting for John W. Tomac’s gloomy, hopeless image, ‘Liberty’s Flameout’ to depict Trump’s first weeks in office. Trumps refugee ban has drawn sharp criticism and protests, but many have pointed out that the president’s unwelcoming attitude is at variance with the inscription beneath the Statue of Liberty that says: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”


The Economist, February 4 issue

The British magazine, an institution in itself, came out with a cover that would shock-and-awe readers. ‘An Insurgent in the White House’, screamed the headline. But the image went a step further showing Trump, wearing a Make America Great Again cap, throwing a Molotov cocktail. “Washigton is in the grip of a revolution. The bleak cadence of last month’s inauguration was still in the air when Donald Trump lobbed the first Molotov cocktail of policies and executive orders against the capital’s brilliant-white porticos,” begins the accompanying editorial.


Der Spiegel, February 4 issue

The German magazine’s cover, depicting Trump with a bloody knife in one hand and the Statue of Liberty’s blood-dripping head in the other, raised several eyebrows. The gory cover draws a parallel between Trump and the ISIS, artist Edel Rodriguez told the Washington Post. Rodriguez was also behind two of Time magazine’s covers featuring Trump and draws the US President without the eyes, but with an open gaping mouth. The headline says ‘America First’, a mantra that Trump has repeated in many speeches.


Bloomberg Businessweek, February 6 issue

Away from the despair of the New Yorker cover or the bloody Der Spiegel one, the Bloomberg Businessweek cover uses text to deliver a body blow rather than an image. Trump is barely visible on the cover, but seems to be holding up an executive order. Ten carefully chosen words replace the original text: ‘Insert hastily drafted, legally dubious, economically destabilizing executive order here’.


The Atlantic, March issue

The magazine published its latest issue a week earlier than planned, because editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg thought that people should read this piece “sooner, rather than later”. ‘How to Build an Autocracy’ is the headline in bold, with an image of Trump addressing a huge rally. The piece by David Frum argues that Trump will lead America down the path of illiberalism and subversion of rules and regulations.