Left: March 2017 Time cover— Yashar Ali ?? (@yashar) April 12, 2018
Right: Latest Time cover...the waters are rising. pic.twitter.com/t6zvDnsoXa
In February 2017, Time magazine’s cover depicted the president sitting resolutely at a grandiose desk as rain poured down and papers whipped into the air. The April 23 cover features the same depiction of Trump, but this time, his desk is submerged in water, and the word "Stormy" is scrawled across the image.
Tim O’Brien, who designed both covers, described his thought process when drafting the images.
“When I painted the ‘Nothing to See Here’ cover art, like many, I assumed the level of chaos could not last, that patriots on both sides of the aisle would step forward to control much of what transpired in the past year,” he said. “As the never-ending flood of breaking news washed over the White House, and the firings, the scandals and the general mayhem filled each news cycle, I felt the storm metaphor was as relevant as ever. I mostly thought about how water would fill the space, how it would be transparent in some areas and reflective in others.”
Although O’Brien didn’t directly mention Stormy Daniels, it's difficult to imagine that the adult film star’s allegations and publicity surrounding them didn’t play a role in his creative process.
Daniels’ name strikingly parallels the chaos her accusations have aroused in the White House, according to reports about the president’s response to her allegations.
Trump likes to make fake Time Magazine covers. Here is a real one that Time made for him. pic.twitter.com/yNTvIb1jI7— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) April 12, 2018
The latest image is part of a series of bombastic depictions to grace the publication’s cover, and the magazine seems to be attempting to generate social media attention by selecting dramatic photos. Most recently, the magazine released its cover photo of Jeff Sessions last month, which features stark lighting and eerily depicts the attorney general.