On 27 June 2017, the Washington Post published a story about decor at four of President Donald Trump’s golf resorts. It revealed that the resorts contained bogus magazine covers made up to look like issues of Time featuring Trump on the cover and promoting his reality television show “The Apprentice”:
It is not clear who created this fake Time cover — or why.
Its date might be a clue: March 1, 2009, was the season debut of Trump’s show “The Celebrity Apprentice.” But a transcript of that show offers no answers. In that episode, various B-list celebrities competed to sell cupcakes, and Trump fired comedian Andrew Dice Clay for poor performance. Nobody mentioned Time magazine.
While it’s not difficult to mock up a fake cover using graphic-design software, whoever made this one sought out real Time headlines, to add to the fake.
The faux covers were dated 1 March 2009 — the same day the show premiered — but as the Washington Post article noted, the magazine did not publish an issue on that date. However, it did publish an issue a day later with actress Kate Winslet on the cover, and which did not mention Trump at all.
Two of the headlines used in the actual 2 March 2009 issue of Time (“How Stressed Is Your Bank? A Checkup” and “Obama’s Next Move: Can He Curb Health Care Costs?”) appeared on the mocked-up cover, which was spotted on display in Trump resorts in Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Virginia and his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida among others. Employees at the Turnberry resort in Scotland also reported that the cover had been displayed there until they took it down because of “grumbling about all the stuff like that up on the walls” by American tourists. The Washington Post, which published the story, later reported that it was also taken down from Trump’s golf course in Ireland.
The fake magazine cover also contained a fake bar code which was used in a graphic design tutorial posted by graphic designer Leonardo Amoretti on his blog in 2010, which also displayed a mockup of a “Time” cover:
Amoretti notes in his post:
The use of TIME magazine logo on this tutorial is just for instructional purposes and not intended to violate the magazine copyrights.
A spokesperson for the magazine said that it requested the removal of the magazine from the resorts.
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders has not commented on whether the president was aware of the fake nature of the magazine covers. Neither Time nor the White House press office responded to our requests for comment at press time.
- Updated the number of Trump resorts at which the faux magazine covers were spotted.
Farenthold, David. “A Time Magazine With Trump on The Cover Hangs in His Golf Clubs. It’s Fake.” Washington Post. 27 June 2017.
Le Miere, Jason. “Fake Trump ‘Time’ Magazine Covers Hang In His Golf Clubs.” Newsweek. 27 June 2017.
Amoretti, Leo. “It’s TIME … For Another Photoshop Tutorial.” LeoAmoretti’s Studio. 6 August 2010.