It’s not every day that son of the president of the United States Donald Trump Jr. is on the cover of Time magazine with the words “Red Handed” printed across his head. But then again, nothing about Donald Trump Jr.'s Russian email scandal is normal. The cover highlights the most incriminating parts from Trump Jr.'s emails, and given President Trump's history of complaints about Time, it's only a matter of time before he complains about this one, too.
On June 3, 2016, publicist Rob Goldstone emailed Trump Jr. to let him know a mutual friend's father, Aras Agalarov, talked to a Russian lawyer who "offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father."
Goldstone told Trump Jr. that the information was "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump." Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting, and on June 9, Trump Jr., along with his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his father's then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, met with Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower.
Trump Jr. explained in a written statement that nothing came of the meeting and that Veselnitsky talked about a Russian adoption policy instead. However, the meeting itself raised questions about whether Trump's son committed treason or broke the law. Trump Jr. has denied any wrongdoing.
After Trump Jr. released copies of the emails and his own statement on Twitter, the president released a statement about his son's actions, saying, "My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency."
The Time cover shows a headshot of Trump Jr. and the coverline "Red Handed — The Russia Scandal Hits Home." Overlaid around Trump Jr.'s face are the contents of his emails with Goldstone. Words from the exchange like "Hillary info," "I love it," and "Re: Russia — Clinton — private and confidential" are highlighted, possibly to emphasize the more incriminating parts of the correspondence.
In February, Time featured Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and wrote a feature titled, "Is Steve Bannon the Second Most Powerful Man in the World?" about his role in the White House. However, President Trump was reportedly annoyed by Bannon's cover, according to the New York Times. He reportedly told a White House visitor "that doesn't just happen," referring to Time's coverline that called Bannon "The Great Manipulator."
And just recently, Trump made headlines for hanging up a fake Time magazine cover at at least five of his golf courses. Time asked that he remove them. President Trump himself has been featured on 14 Time covers, mostly in the last two years.
Trump has a history of saying negative things about Time magazine (at least, when he isn't on the cover), especially on Twitter. In 2012, he tweeted, "I knew last year that @TIME Magazine lost all credibility when they didn't include me in their Top 100." Then, in 2013, he tweeted, "The Time Magazine list of the 100 Most Influential People is a joke and stunt of a magazine that will, like Newsweek, soon be dead. Bad list!"
In 2015, he once again commented on the magazine's choice of Person of the Year, saying, "I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite They picked person who is ruining Germany."
However, once the magazine did start putting him on the cover, he changed his tune. In August 2015, Trump tweeted out a cover of himself, saying, "On the cover of @TIME Magazine—a great honor!" Trump has yet to tweet about his son's cover, so it isn't yet clear what he thinks of it, but it'll likely be in line with his previous complaints about the magazine.