Altered Time cover spreads after Trump interview

An online image appears to show a May 2024 print edition of Time magazine with the "M" positioned over Donald Trump's head to make it look like he has red, devil-like horns. But the supposed cover is altered; the version the outlet published shows more of the letter visible behind the former US president.

"They gave President Trump devil horns, they know he is the end of their era," says an April 30, 2024 post on X.

The post comes from a QAnon-promoting user going by "Dom Lucre," who has previously spread misinformation and was banned from X for posting child exploitation images. Owner Elon Musk quickly reinstated the creator.

Screenshot from X taken April 30, 2024

Similar posts sharing the supposed Time cover ricocheted across X and other platforms, with many attacking the magazine for its portrayal of Trump.

Time has previously published covers that make their subjects appear horned. In 2018, the magazine published a list of 37 instances it had done so after criticism from Trump supporters over a prior edition naming the former president as the 2016 Person of the Year (archived here). 

But the version of Time's May 2024 cover spreading online is altered, with Trump enlarged to block much of the "M."

The original cover, dated May 27, accompanied an interview Time published online April 30 titled: "How Far Trump Would Go" (archived here). 

It also appears in the magazine's posts promoting the article and a related piece headlined: "The Story Behind TIME's 'If He Wins' Donald Trump Cover" (archived here, here and here).

A Time spokesperson told AFP the magazine's website and social media posts show the authentic cover for the May 27 print issue.

Trump and senior adviser Dan Scavino shared the manipulated version but later deleted their posts. Trump then published the correct version on his social media platform Truth Social.

Screenshot from Truth Social taken April 30, 2024
Screenshot from X taken April 30, 2024

The former president, who will most likely face Democratic incumbent Joe Biden in November's presidential election, outlined in the Time interview a stark vision for a second term, including possible detention camps and mass deportations of migrants, as well as pregnancy monitoring to enforce abortion bans.

He also warned of a crackdown on the "enemy from within" if he wins, and failed to rule out political violence if he does not.

AFP has previously debunked other altered Time magazine covers here and here.

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