The new cover for Time magazine depicts a cartoon meant to represent President Donald Trump with his iconic orange hair on fire.
A small caption in the corner sums up the gravity of the image in just two words: “Year One.”
With the first anniversary of his inauguration set to commence a little more than a week from Thursday, the representation of Trump’s first 12 months in office couldn’t be more perfect.
A year that was beset with name-calling, misstatements, gaffes, investigations, embarrassing revelations, and more, certainly felt like the president was igniting new “fires” of controversy just as his handlers had put out old ones.
One of the more recent challenges plaguing this president includes several revelations from a book that put him and his administration in a less-than-favorable light. “Fire and Fury” by author Michael Wolff describes how Trump’s closest allies view him like a child, how detached of a father and husband he is, and how he is unfocused and petty on many subjects and individuals inside and out of the White House.
The book’s contents forced Trump to defend his own mental abilities, claiming in a series of tweets that he’s a “stable genius” — even while typing out the words “like, really smart” to emphasize the point in a way some have suggested is indicative of how he’s just the opposite.
....Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
....to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius....and a very stable genius at that!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
Some of the highlights of Trump’s tumultuous time as president so far include:
- Facing multiple court battles over his controversial Muslim travel ban;
- Defending white supremacists and neo-Nazis who engaged in violent behavior, calling some of them “very fine people” even after they attacked counter-protesters, resulting in the death of activist Heather Heyer;
- Making relentless and repeated attacks against honest press accounts of his administration, labeling media outlets “fake news” simply if he disagreed with their coverage, and proposing a “fake news” awards show to highlight his least favorite reporters;
- Continuing to push a line of attacks against his former adversary, Hillary Clinton, reviving conspiracy theories about her that have been disproven on several occasions;
- And insisting that NFL players stand up for the national anthem, even while making such vehement demands runs counter to their First Amendment protections, an aspect of the Constitution the president is supposed to defend.
None of the controversies above even include Trump’s less-than-stellar handling of the Russia investigation, a probe which was prompted to understand how and why agents in Russia were able to influence our elections in 2016, and which now includes discovering whether Russia and the Trump campaign colluded together in order for Trump win the presidency.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, frequently stating that there was no collusion at all, but he may also be under investigation for possible obstruction of justice, including for firing then-FBI Director James Comey for reasons that may have dealt with Trump’s attitudes on the direction the Russia investigation was taking.
The first year of Trump’s first term in office has been a disaster, to say the least. It isn’t hyperbolic to suggest that the preservation of American democracy is under threat because of Trump’s statements and actions. If it is to survive, it will take a strong resistance movement to the president and his policies to ensure democratic rights don’t deteriorate under the dangerous precedents being established and attacks on freedoms being perpetrated by his administration.
The Time magazine cover is a perfect visualization for what has already happened under Trump’s tenure. Hopefully things will be better by next January, and Time's cover won’t depict a president whose second year in office has been even worse.