Donald Trump punches himself in the face on New York Magazine's latest cover

Artist Tim O’Brien depicts POTUS in self-destruction mode

Published On
Aug 18, 2020

Editor's Pick

New York Magazine’s latest issue, on newsstand through Aug. 30, stars a conspicuously self-destructive Donald Trump rendered by artist Tim O’Brien.

As Ad Age has reported, the president’s reelection effort has been a bit of mess—Trump demoted his campaign manager Brad Parscale  in mid-July, the campaign put its advertising on pause in late July while it regrouped, and all along Trump has been helping anti-Trump ads go viral by complaining about them on Twitter—and now Olivia Nuzzi, New York’s Washington correspondent, offers an in-depth tick-tock of the slow-motion trainwreck.

The magazine’s cover headline, “Round Two” (subhead: “Inside the most disorganized, unscrupulous, self-sabotaging presidential campaign since the last one”), promotes Nuzzi’s story inside, which is ironically titled “The Most Tremendous Reelection Campaign in American History Ever.” She offers dirt on Parscale, deconstructs how Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner factors into the chaos, attempts to find evidence of the Trump campaign’s ground game in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and elsewhere (spoiler: there’s not much there there), and more.

In a statement the magazine released to promote the new issue, Nuzzi talks about what went into the piece:

“By the end of reporting this story, I was joking to my sources that I felt like I needed to hire a family therapist to moderate my conversations between senior officials in Donald Trump’s White House and campaign,” Nuzzi, who spoke with more than 30 sources from Trump’s 2020 and 2016 campaigns, says of the process of reporting this story. At the beginning, Nuzzi says, she wasn’t sure where to start. “In the age of the ‘plague,’ as the president grimly calls it, traditional campaign reporting is impossible, since the candidates are housebound,” she says. “But I still found a campaign trail to follow, and I learned a lot about the divide between what the Trump campaign says about their organization and what the reality of that organization looks like at the campaign’s headquarters itself, and on the ground with his supporters.”

As for O’Brien’s cover image, it’s a return engagement for the noted illustrator. For New York’s Aug. 15, 1994 issue, O’Brien depicted Trump as an unlikely survivor—Trump’s crisis that time had to do with his company’s self-inflicted financial meltdown—under the headline “Trump’s Near-Death Experience.”