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A Nazi salute, KKK hoods and Trump: Magazine covers after Charlottesville are jarring

The Economist, Time and the New Yorker released post-Charlottesville cover images Thursday.

President Trump collects magazine covers, but he probably won't want to keep these.

The latest from the Economist depicts the president bellowing into a white, conical megaphone — with eye holes that lend the appearance of a Ku Klux Klan hood. The clear implication is that Trump has amplified the message of white supremacists by failing to treat them as any more blameworthy than the counterprotesters with whom they clashed in Charlottesville last weekend.

Time magazine's new cover image features a boot-clad white man behind an American flag, held aloft at a 45-degree angle by a pole whose ornament is an outstretched hand, creating the effect of a Nazi salute.

These are jarring illustrations, and we haven't even seen what the New Yorker, famous for provocative art, will produce.

Update: The New Yorker released an early look at next week's cover on Thursday afternoon. It depicts Trump in a sailboat whose sail resembles a KKK hood.

I mentioned Trump's fascination with magazine covers to set up a point: He can try to ignore the images that adorn titles like the Economist, Time and the New Yorker or dismiss them as insignificant, but the undeniable reality is that he considers them important.

We're talking about the man who displayed a phony, fawning Time cover in several of his golf clubs. To Trump, magazine covers are status symbols.

This Time magazine cover is on display at several Trump properties — but it's fake. (Video: Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

Trump has signaled that he values what the Economist and Time publish. He tends to judge news outlets by their polls, and the Economist was one of his favorites during the campaign.

Trump has said it is “a great honor” to be featured on the cover of Time.

The president has assigned a measure of significance to Time and the Economist, which makes those publications' latest covers all the more notable. And though he has not expressed any affection for the New Yorker, his former communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, put the magazine on the radar of people who otherwise might not pay attention to it when he gave that memorably profane interview to Ryan Lizza last month.

Trump's opinions of news outlets — not to mention political issues, his own advisers and pretty much everything else — are subject to wild fluctuations, of course, but it will be hard to pretend that he doesn't care about these images.