President Donald Trump has made it known that he's well aware of his various TIME magazine covers. But according to the latest scoop from David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post, there is a fake TIME magazine cover in Trump's golf clubs around the country featuring an image of the then-reality TV star that claims to have run back in March 2009.
UPDATE: A spokeswoman for 'TIME' told Fahrenthold the company has requested that the Trump organization remove the fake cover from its properties. The cover reportedly bears the same barcode at the bottom as one in an online Photoshop tutorial "in which a Peruvian designer laid out how to make a fake ['TIME'] cover," Fahrenthold reported. The designer did not immediately respond to the Post's request for comment.
Fahrenthold, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2016 investigative reporting into Trump's record of charitable giving claims that ultimately resulted in naught, is no stranger to tracking down oddities at Trump's various private golf clubs. In Sept. 2016, he reported that Trump had purchased an enormous portrait of himself ― a very generous portrait, no less ― with $20,000 in charity funds from the Donald J. Trump foundation. Then, in early November, he finally tracked it down.
In this case, however, the item of interest isn't even a piece of artwork, or even an authentic bit of self-promotion ― rather, it appears to be an out-and-out hoax, a mock-up of a TIME cover that never actually existed.
According to Fahrenthold, the date on the faux-TIME cover is March 1, 2009. But the magazine's issue that month was published on March 2, 2009, its cover featuring Kate Winslet, who'd just won an Academy Award for her role in The Reader; there was no other Trump-themed cover that month.
What this means, in simple terms, is that somebody mocked-up a TIME cover, and it somehow made its way onto the walls in a number places. According to Fahrenthold's report, the same fake cover hangs in at least four of Trump's golf clubs, including the Trump National Doral near Miami, Florida. A spokesperson for Time confirmed to The Washington Post that the cover ― which includes the headline "The Apprentice is a television smash!" ― is "not a real TIME cover."
Back in April, Trump was reportedly agitated when his chief strategist Steve Bannon landed a TIME cover. More specifically, one that implied he had a tremendous amount of sway over the direction of Trump's administration ― the title under Bannon's picture was "The Great Manipulator."
It's entirely unclear how the cover came into being, or whether Trump himself is aware it's a fake. As Fahrenthold notes, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump claimed to have been on a total of eight times, six as a politician and two during his private-sector real estate career. In reality, he's only been on the cover once as a non-politician ― unless, of course, you count the fake one that's apparently spread throughout some of his properties.