Left-leaning magazine covers have been vivid sites of anti-Trump sentiment in the past couple of years, and the latest example is about to hit the stands. The New Yorker revealed its next Trump cover on Friday, and it may be the magazine's boldest yet. It's certainly the crudest: The image depicts the president conducting a press conference in the nude, covered only by a podium.
The picture, titled "Exposed," was drawn in ink and watercolor by Barry Blitt, who has worked for The New Yorker for years and made 15 Trump covers for them. Describing his vision for the picture, Blitt said in a statement, "I wanted to address President Trump’s stormy relationship with the press."
It's a not-so-subtle reference to the ongoing scandal about an alleged relationship that the president had with adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2006. Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 during the 2016 presidential election to keep silent about the affair. Daniels recently admitted to the relationship after initially denying it, and intends to disclose further details during a March 25 60 Minutes interview on CBS.
Press coverage of the Trump-Daniels drama, as well as the many other scandals that have surrounded Trump during his tenure in office, have indeed "exposed" information that the president would rather keep hidden. Blitt's cover is a fitting metaphor, then, and some people on social media expressed their appreciation for it. "Wow! What an illustration," wrote one user, adding: "depicts Trumps perfectly. Tiny hands...."
Some interpreted the image as additional reference to the Hans Christian Andersen tale "The Emperor's New Clothes," in which an arrogant ruler is convinced to wear a "special," invisible suit that is a fraud and just leaves him walking around naked.
The New Yorker cover embraces shock value, which may alienate some. Others may critique it as an intrusion on Trump's privacy, or an inappropriate satire of his body.
Many Twitter users noted that they expected the president to react negatively to the image. "My guess is that Trump will not love the new New Yorker cover," wrote one person, and another added: "Someone who loves to be on the cover of magazines is not going to like this."
Imagining Trump's potential response to having his likeness on the cover, one user wrote: "Too bad Trump can't go with 'Failing New Yorker' because that would sound like a self own."
If Trump does lambaste the image, it will not be Blitt's first cover to draw ire from high-profile politicians. In July 2008, he drew then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in a turban with his wife Michelle — who was dressed in military attire and holding an AK-47 — fist-bumping each other while an American flag burned in their fireplace. The Obama campaign acknowledged that the image was meant to satirize false rumors about their candidate, including that he was secretly a Muslim, but released a statement saying that it was still "tasteless and offensive."
Trump himself has so far avoided criticizing The New Yorker's depictions of him. He's saved his condemnations for satire made by the likes of Saturday Night Live and negative press from The New York Times, CNN, and others.
Trump's relative silence toward The New Yorker hasn't been for a lack of unflattering covers about him. After Trump claimed that the violence in Charlottesville involved wrongs on "many sides," David Plunkert drew him blowing wind into a Klu Klux Klan-shaped sail. After he called African countries "sh*tholes," Anthony Russo depicted him in a hole. Striking pictorial challenges to Trump have also come from the likes of TIME, The Atlantic, and The Economist.
Blitt has done 14 other Trump covers for The New Yorker since he announced his campaign for president in 2015. Blitt says he's grateful for all the inspiration the president gives him and refers to Trump as "the gift that keeps on grifting."