It’s not a stretch to say the Trump presidency has been a disaster. The president has done much to bring down America’s prestige in the eyes of the world. Trump’s divisive domestic doctrine has lead to international denouncement by global powers and American allies alike. To show the people’s displeasure, many famous and renowned magazines have produced striking artwork reflecting the opinions of sane individuals worldwide criticizing the administration. Here are the 20 magazine covers that perfectly explain the tumultuous Trump presidency.
20. Year One – Time
Artist Edel Rodriguez has become famous for portraying Trump on the covers of magazines worldwide, and the above image is no exception to his reputation. Edel’s usage of Trump’s hair, which is arguably his most defining feature, as the subject of the image is pure genius. The symbolism presented here is obvious and the message is clear and effective, showing that Trump’s first year in office was disastrous and destructive.
The image also symbolizes the chaotic nature of Trump and his “revolving door” of an administration as advisers came and went throughout the year.
19. Liberty Extinguished – The New Yorker
Trump’s racist foreign policy manifested with the controversial “Muslim Ban,” an executive order that barred persons of the Islamic faith from entering the country from a select number of Muslim-majority nations. The New Yorker’s powerful image of Lady Liberty’s extinguished flame shows the death of the American ideals of “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
The Muslim Ban has since been upheld in the Supreme Court in 2018 after the ascension of Trump lackey Brett Kavanaugh in a 5-4 decision.
18. The Order – Bloomberg Businessweek
Although a little on the nose, Bloomberg doesn’t waste any time with this hard-hitting cover, telling it’s audience exactly how they feel about Trump’s over extensional use of executive power. Trump’s commitment to circumventing the Constitution along with it’s principles and ideals through the use of executive orders has drawn the attention of the courts leading to several laws being challenged and bogged down in the courts.
Bloomberg’s depiction here also comes from an internet meme where several anonymous users submitted images of Trump signing executive orders on a variety of ludicrous and outrageous subjects.
17. Little Rocket Man – Der Spiegel
The widely popular German magazine Der Speigel utilized another work of artist Edel Rodriguez to capture a truly genius artistic criticism of the Trump administration. The relationship between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has been so confusing that some people already forget how close the two came to clicking the “big red button” on one another before the historic summit in Singapore in 2018 Both were clearly acting like children, talking about nuclear weapons that could deal untold amounts of damage and loss of life like they were play things.
The president on more than one occasion threatened to nuke North Korea by stating he “too (has) a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his (Kim Jong Un), and my Button works!”
16. Hate in America – Time
Trump’s failure to denounce the Charlottesville neo-Nazi protests by stating “both sides are to blame” for the violence really shows how Trump has helped bolster fascist and neo-Nazi support across America. This outstanding Time cover shows how the fascist Republican controlled government and Trump promotes and condones hate and prejudice in America, bringing about more division and hate than ever.
Only recently did Congress pass a measure that condemned hate and prejudice in America following the election of a Democrat-controlled House.
15. The MAGAphone(ey) – The Economist
In conjunction with Time, The Economist also dropped a bombshell cover to their magazine following the violent protests in Charlotsville. The powerful image of utilizing the hood of the Ku Klux Klan hood as a megaphone shows Trump’s need to constantly speak his mind, the words often coming out sounding uneducated and just plain racist.
Trump to this day has still failed to condemn hatred and bigotry, even going so far as to denounce the aforementioned measure passed by Congress earlier this month.
14. The Wrecking Crew – Time
In yet another example of hard-hitting artistic talent on the cover of Time, Edel portrays the president as a symbol of destruction, which is much like how his presidency so far has played out. Trump has destroyed our allies’ trust in America, race and class relations, our reputation as the leader of the free world, and the ability to combat threats posed to America’s interests.
As the subtitle on the cover suggests, Time also covers the administration and Trump’s cabinet that he promised would help him “drain the swamp” of Washington corruption, which in turn has led to a series of investigations against the president and the members of his inner circle. The chief of these investigations is of course the Mueller investigation which continues to investigate the ties between Russia and 2016 Trump presidential campaign.
13. Doomsday – Der Spiegel
From time to time it’s often wise to look back and reflect on the past few years. Just a month after Trump’s victory, German magazine Der Spiegal dropped this cover for their newest December issue titled “The End of the World (as we know it).” It’s striking to see how right the magazine and it’s artist was as we look back and compare today’s world to the one we lived in just three years ago. The world as we know it has certainly changed in some pretty significant ways as Trump continues to wage a futile and disastrous trade war with China, pulls troops out of Syria and leaving Russia in control of the region, and the back and forth between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un resulting in threats of nuclear war.
Thankfully House Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are leading the charge on dismantling the disastrous Trump administration, building a road to an expected blue wave in the 2020 general elections that will help fix the world left behind by Trump.
12. The New Nationalism – The Economist
Another great cover by the Economist depicts Russian President Vladimir Putin playing the flute to the beating drums of war by both British United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who helped orchestrate Brexit, and of course Trump. The message of the cover is clearly commentating on Russia’s influence abroad as the Russian state and Putin in particular continue to undermine democracies worldwide in an effort to destabilize the established world order, supporting fringe right-wing groups and people like Farage and Trump under the guise of the rising radical ideologies of populism and new nationalism.
New nationalism has seen a rise in numerous western countries in the past few years, perhaps with Russian assistance, leading to events such as when France’s Le Pen came close to winning the French Election in 2017. This rise has lead to worldwide instability, allowing for contrarian states like Russia and China to fill the growing power vacuum as western democracies look inwards to solve their growing political crisis.
11. Lazy Boy – Newsweek
Almost as bad as Trump’s policies has been the president’s lack of a work ethic. Trump was notorious for criticizing President Obama on Twitter before he ran for president, often calling out Obama for taking far too much vacation time and not enough time fulfilling his role as commander in chief. It’s ironic then that Trump is on track to outspend Obama tenfold in vacation trips as Trump spends roughly $1-$3 million per trip to his golf club of Mar-A-Lago in Florida almost every weekend and then some, which has been criticized rightfully as the “southern white house.”
Trump has so far clocked in 150 total vacations, compared to Obama’s 29, the pattern only interrupted by the partial government shutdown of 2018-2019 he himself caused.
10. Nothing to See Here – Time
Yet again, Time comes through with an amazing image that perfectly explains Trump and his presidency. The image presented can be interpreted at least three ways. One is that Trump’s administration has been nothing but a disaster wrought with chaos as cabinet members are indicted by various investigations, leave on their own volition, or are fired by Trump outright. Another is how Trump’s administration is a brewing storm ready to be sprung upon the American public, a cataclysm not seen in decades weakening American institutions and destroying public faith in the government (oh how right they were).
The third, and personal favorite interpretation, is the rampant climate change denial spewed by Trump and his administration. As climate change continues to grow increasingly out of control, weather events will only continue to get worse, including hurricanes, with hurricanes Maria, Michael, and Irma being some of the most destructive storms to date despite all occurring in the past two years.
Trump continues to deny climate change and placed a climate change denier in charge of the EPA. He also refuses to sign measures like the Paris Climate Accords supports laughable initiatives like”clean coal.”
This TIME cover ended up being a series of artworks, ultimately culminating in Time’s September 3-10th issue as seen below.
9. Star Mangled Banner – Newsweek
Newsweek’s issue from almost a full year ago highlights a key theme in the Trump presidency – that the president continues to tarnish the reputation of the United States, visualized here by Trump dragging the flag on the ground behind him as he attempts to champion it as a cape. The article behind the cover seems to claim the justice system has no shot against the president at winning their cases against him. As Trump faces 36 lawsuits while being president alone, it is likely at least one of them could seriously affect the demagogue resulting in large financial loss or jail time.
The article also covers Israel’s growing alt-right movement and the rise in dangerous nationalism, a potentially horrific development in such a turbulent part of the world.
8. Breath of Life – The New Yorker
The New Yorker has their share of hard-hitting Trump covers, this being one of the first to make an appearance. The image depicts Trump’s breath alone is keeping the boat moving forward by blowing on it’s sail, which in itself looks like a Klan hood. This is another criticism of the President in the wake of the Charlotsville protests and Trump’s inability to denounce the neo-Nazis and fascists that caused violence and turmoil in the small Virginia town.
7. “Grab her by the P***y” – Charlie Hebdo
Famous French magazine Charlie Hebdo, made famous for it’s depiction of Muhammad that resulted in a terrorist attack on the company in 2015, commissioned a cover that highlights Trump’s long history of sexual misconduct and general disregard for the well-being of women. The depiction of Trump’s sexual misconduct has always been difficult for magazines and other publications to do tastefully while also making a strong point, however, Charlie is also famous for being remarkably tasteless, and thus had no qualms with making such a cover.
It is also important to note the subtitle, which translates to “did you really have to give him the nuclear button?” Trust us, Charlie, we wish it weren’t this way either!
6. Fascista Americano – Letras Libres
Popular Mexican literary magazine Letras Libres had the brilliant idea of placing text on Trump’s mug to depict Hitler’s famous toothbrush mustache, highlighting Trump’s autocratic demeanor and the subsequent rise of fascism and white nationalism. The close-up on the president’s face also makes it plain to see just how orange he really is, just look around the eyes and you tell me that’s not a spray on tan!
5. Cracks – The Economist
This is yet another wonderful cover by the Economist, and like the famous “Stormy” cover from Time, this cover can be interpreted a few different way. The most obvious interpretation (as hinted by the subtitle) is that Trump’s divisive rhetoric and policies has led to “cracks” in the idea of American unity, bringing about increased polarization between the two parties which led to prolonged incidents like the partial government shutdown.
Another way to look at it is how America’s infrastructure continues to crumble, with Flint’s water crisis still being an example of America’s failure to invest in itself and fix the fundamental issues within our waterways, road networks, and public facilities. Sooner or later funding will have to be secured to rebuild America’s basic necessities, or it may all come crumbling down.
4. Trump Goes Nuclear – NewStateman
NewStatesman makes a strong criticism with this cover that, rest assured, everyone can agree on. Trump’s incessant need to Tweet everything and anything on his mind 24/7 has both Republicans and Democrats wishing they could take his phone and chuck it out an open window. To Republicans, Trump is an embarrassment to the party and tweets things that are either completely untrue or downright stupid. To Democrats, it embarrasses America in the eyes of the world and makes us a laughing stock of our allies and enemies alike.
Trump’s childish twitter tantrums over the years have resulted in some insane evening news headlines, such as when he has a much better nuclear button than Kim Jong Un, or when he is outlandishly attacking Congressional leaders and sometimes even celebrities.
3. You’re Fired – Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel has so many great covers, and this one is yet another exceptional piece that has some great symbolism. As mentioned before, Trump’s frequent vacations to his Florida country club Mar-A-Lago has sparked a lot of deserved controversy considering his ironic criticism of Obama has paled in comparison to his own time off.
This artwork however shows him teeing off the Earth itself, with the planet going up in flames, which could be interpreted a few different ways. Perhaps it’s stating Trump has thrown the world into chaos by sparking a trade war with China and wanting to re-negotiate NAFTA. Or perhaps it’s commentating on Trumps climate change denial and the Earth is going up in flames due to global warming. Either way, it’s a powerful criticism that Der Spiegel has come to be famous for.
2. Family Business – MAD
Trump’s nepotism is so rampant that his children have become key advisers in the white house and are trusted over Trump’s own cabinet members. Jared Kushner, pictured to the right of Trump, is the president’s senior adviser and is his own son-in-law. Recently, it has been speculated Kushner may have illegally gained top security clearance despite meeting with key figures representing the Russian Federation, which has resulted in Kushner being labeled one of many suspects by the Russian investigation headed by Robert Mueller.
Ivanka Trump, pictured to the left of Trump, is the president’s first daughter. Following the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Ivanka acted as the interim Secretary of State until the ascension of Mike Pompeo, meeting with diplomats from South Korea and German president Angela Merkel. The media was quick to pounce on this and raised valid ethical concerns regarding her level of security clearance. It is speculated that Ivanka uses a personal email for all government correspondence, a practice that landed Hillary Clinton in hot water for years resulting in multiple investigations that found no wrongdoing whatsoever.
1. Russification – TIME
This final cover from TIME has become iconic and is a staunch criticism following the news breaking on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The image shows the iconic St. Basil cathedral sitting atop the white house while the white marble of the building is transformed into the red bricks found in Moscow’s Kremlin, showing Russia’s influence over the current administration.
The Mueller investigation of course continues, and only time will tell just who “individual number one” really is.