Edel Rodriguez Brings Fire and Fury to His Latest Stunning Trump Cover for Time Magazine

This is not a drill, says the Cuban-born illustrator

Time magazine
Headshot of Tim Nudd

Edel Rodriguez, the Cuban-born illustrator who’s designed several instantly iconic Donald Trump covers for Time magazine—and some even more shocking ones for Germany’s Der Spiegel—is out with his latest effort for Time.

And it’s incendiary indeed.

The new cover, marking the culmination of Trump’s first year in the White House, features the president with his signature orange hair turned a fiery yellow—and burning out of control. As with Rodriguez’s meltdown-themed Trump covers, the metaphor for a presidency in crisis couldn’t be more blunt, or visually striking.

In a story on Time’s website, Rodriguez said he was asked by Time creative director D.W. Pine for a cover design specifically referencing Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, as well as the anniversary of the inauguration.

But Rodriguez told us Thursday morning that fire has been a regular theme of his Trump illustrations for a while now. (He posts regular Trump illustrations to his Twitter and Instagram pages, including many not commissioned by media companies.)

“The idea of burning things down has been there all along. There are a number of images I’ve made over the past year that reference these themes, images of him playing with matches, the White House on fire,” Rodriguez said.

Time also posted an animated version of the new cover. The animation was created by Brobel Design. You can see that here:

We first met Rodriguez last March, at ADC judging in Bermuda, where he told us all about his stunning Der Spiegel cover depicting Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty. He readily admitted at the time that he was channeling his anger at Trump into his artwork—and that the Der Spiegel image, which evoked ISIS’s history of beheading prisoners, was indeed meant to depict Trump as a kind of terrorist.

“Terrorism can be defined in many ways,” he said. “To me, it’s when you terrorize people, when you make their lives miserable. I felt [Trump’s travel ban] was a form of terrorism. … This idea that he was terrorizing democracy, or terrorizing the idea of what the Statue of Liberty symbolizes, popped into my head. And I went ahead and made the image.”

Asked on Thursday if he thinks the Wolff book represents a turning of the tide—with Trump not just setting fire to democracy but becoming engulfed in flames himself—Rodriguez was wary.

“I don’t think there is one thing that will turn the tide,” he said. “There are many times where people have said ‘This is it, this will destroy Trump,’ and nothing happens. It’s all of us, contributing in any way small way we can, that will help bring change eventually.”

Hear more from Rodriguez at Time.com. And below, check out his recent sketch of how he might have designed the cover of Wolff’s Fire and Fury book.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.