Time Magazine Stands By Its Controversial Trump Cover

The viral photo in the illustration is the 'most visible symbol' of the immigration debate, editor-in-chief says

This picture was widely circulated about the broader discussion of children being separated from their parents. Getty Images

Time Magazine is standing by its cover of this week’s issue, a photo illustration showing President Trump looking down at a crying Honduran girl as a border patrol agent searches her mother.

The photo has gone viral after Getty Images photographer John Moore snapped the scene. The picture has been used in coverage of the broader discussion about how the Trump administration’s hardline stance on illegal immigration has led to the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The cover, with a towering Trump staring down at the girl, says, “Welcome to America.”

But as the border patrol agent who searched the mother told CBS in a report that aired this morning, the mother and child were never separated.

Time interviewed Moore about his experience documenting the search for its cover story, which now has a correction, clarifying that the two were never taken from each other.

Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal subsequently issued a statement in support of the cover.

“The June 12 photograph of the 2-year-old Honduran girl became the most visible symbol of the ongoing immigration debate in America for a reason: Under the policy enforced by the administration, prior to its reversal this week, those who crossed the border illegally were criminally prosecuted, which in turn resulted in the separation of children and parents,” he said in a statement. “Our cover and our reporting capture the stakes of this moment.”

Time hasn’t held back putting the president on the cover, including showing him looking at himself in a mirror, appearing like royalty; with what seemed like his hair was on fire documenting his first year; and, in light of reporting that Trump’s personal lawyer paid an adult-film actress, Stormy Daniels, the magazine showed Trump caught in a storm. Trump was also on the cover as its 2016 person of the year.

Meredith acquired Time as part of its $2.8 billion acquisition and plans to sell the news magazine by the end of summer.

@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.