Time's latest cover shows Biden in an Oval Office trashed by his predecessor

Tim O’Brien illustration metaphorically depicts the challenges facing the incoming president

Published On
Jan 21, 2021

Editor's Pick

Time magazine today released the cover of its Feb. 1-8 double issue showing President Joe Biden in an Oval Office that has been thoroughly trashed by its previous occupant. In the illustration by longtime Time contributor Tim O’Brien, piles of neglected files and paperwork are stacked everywhere, a discarded MAGA hat and a bullhorn rest on the floor, half-eaten French fries and ketchup spill over the edge of the Resolute desk, and a giant “T” is spray-painted on a curtain. President Biden is in the background, seemingly deep in thought as he stares out a window at the dawning day. The coverline reads “Day One.”

In the cover essay, “How President Biden Handles a Divided America Will Define His Legacy,” Time’s Charlotte Alter quotes something Biden said at his inauguration on Wednesday: “We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.” Alter then writes:

But only barely. Biden now leads a country divided between Americans who believe in facts and Americans who distrust them, between those who want a multiracial Republic and those who seek to invalidate nonwhite votes, between those with faith in democratic institutions and those who put faith only in Trump.

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