For a president who is pathologically obsessed with issues of public image, this is sure to be a bit of bad news. Special Counsel for the Russia investigation (and former FBI Director) Robert Mueller is on the cover of the new TIME Magazine, with a caption calling him “The Lie Detector” and saying, correctly, “Someone’s not telling the truth.”
Check out the cover, featuring a relatively foreboding picture of Mueller, below.
— Axios (@axios) June 22, 2017
One of the last times that someone in the top rung of power in Washington appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine, it reportedly “annoyed” the president for months.
In February, the publication featured top Trump adviser Steve Bannon on the cover, calling him “The Great Manipulator.” Trump is said to have taken this cover as a slight to his own power, telling one unnamed White House visitor “that doesn’t just happen.” The New York Times calls what the president allegedly said “a favored Trump expression for anger at subordinates who tend to their interests ahead of his.”
For the president to remain mad about a literal magazine cover for months is what we’ve long come to expect from him. The question is, though, how the president will take this cover, seeing as he’s long been shown to have his behavior altered on a whim by press coverage. He is obsessed with being portrayed positively by the press.
There has been talk of the president looking to fire Mueller, and there is a real question of whether or not this TIME cover will sway his opinion one way or the other on this matter. He fired FBI Director James Comey because he wanted the Russia investigation to go away, and firing Mueller is something he could easily do for the same reason, spurred on by this magazine cover.
As the story that goes along with the Mueller cover explains, he was brought on after Trump showed his lack of understanding of one of the basic rules of Washington — if you’re in a hole, stop digging.
Trump “kept digging” by seeking to have Comey end the investigation into ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and then firing him after he wouldn’t — among other things.
Featured Image via SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images