TIME’s latest cover is making headlines after unveiling a photoshopped melding of President Trump’s face with Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s head. The magazine’s edition is titled “The Summit Crisis,” a reference to the controversial meeting with Putin in Helsinki just days ago.
During a joint press conference Trump sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies, stating that he accepted Putin’s denials that Russia had any interference in the 2016 election that helped Trump will the election.
Although many called on Trump to confront Putin about the indictments during his one-on-one meeting with the Russian leader, Trump instead stated that he didn’t see why there would be any interference from Russia during that time.
“He just said it’s not Russia,” Trump told the press. “I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Trump also said both countries were to blame for poor relations between the U.S. and Russia.
However, following his return home from Helsinki and receiving a hailstorm of bipartisan backlash over Trump’s dismissal of the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia did in fact meddle in the election, Trump attempted to do damage control by claiming that he hadn’t meant what he initially said.
“I would like to clarify, in a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t,’” he said. “The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’”
The summit came just a few short days after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly hacking Democratic servers during the 2016 campaign, according to the Hill.
In a story explaining TIME’s cover, magazine staff questioned Trump’s “puzzling affinity for Putin” which has “yet to be explained,” opting for the morphing of the two world leaders into one.
“The composite image, by visual artist Nancy Burson, is meant to represent this particular moment in U.S. foreign policy, following the pair’s recent meeting in Helsinki, Finland,” Brian Bennett wrote of artist Nancy Burson’s cover. “Trump is bruised by the idea that Russian election meddling taints his victory, those close to him say, and can’t concede the fact that Russia did try to interfere in the election, regardless of whether it impacted the outcome. He views this problem entirely through a political lens, these people say, unable or unwilling to differentiate between the question of whether his campaign colluded with Russia—which he denies—and the question of whether Russia attempted to influence the election.”
Bennett wrote that Burson wanted to merge Trump and Putin’s faces to represent the “shifting appearances of the two world leaders.”
Trump hasn’t directly confronted the TIME issue as of Thursday morning, but he did release a series of tweets defending his actions with Russia, accusing the “Fake News Media” of being the real enemy of the people, and posting a video of himself with the caption “Trump recognized Russian Meddling MANY TIMES.”