By Phillip Stucky
Republican President-elect Donald Trump had a very contentious relationship with the media during the course of the 2016 presidential election, but the Aug. 22, Oct. 24, and December covers of TIME Magazine perfectly illustrate that contentious relationship.
— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) December 7, 2016
August was the beginning of Trump’s decline in the polls. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton registered higher numbers after officially clenching the nomination, along with one or two media-fueled controversies targeting the Trump campaign that made it look like Clinton could never lose.
TIME’s August issue focused on what it described as a rift in the Republican Party. Chairman of the Republican Party Reince Priebus reportedly warned Trump that the Party would have to focus on helping down-ballot races over helping Trump.
The October issue doubled down on the “meltdown” claim, saying, “The Oct. 24 issue of TIME may look a little familiar to some readers. In order to capture the latest twists in Donald Trump’s campaign and the rising anger within the Republican party leadership about their standard bearer’s behavior, we asked artist Edel Rodriguez to reprise his illustration of Donald Trump which appeared on the Aug. 22 issue of TIME—this time with just one small twist,” TIME said in the introduction of the article.
But even though TIME Magazine was forced to feature Trump as man of the year, it still is hardly a positive interview. The article takes a dim view of Trump’s penthouse, calling it “gilded and gaudy, a dreamscape of faded tapestry, antique clocks and fresco-style ceiling murals of gym-rat Greek gods. The throw pillows carry the Trump shield, and the paper napkins are monogrammed with the family name.”
“Now it’s difficult to count all the ways Trump remade the game: the huckster came off more real than the scripted political pros,” the article continued. “The cable-news addict made pollsters look like chumps. The fabulist out-shouted journalists fighting to separate fact from falsehood. The demagogue won more Latino and black votes than the 2012 Republican nominee.”
Regardless, TIME Magazine named Trump man of the year shortly after derisively dismissing his campaign in not one, but two separate issues over the course of the campaign.