Reporter

The New York Post paid homage on Wednesday to one of its most memorable covers.

“WORST REX HE EVER HAD,” read the front-page headline. It was a reference to President Trump's firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and also a nod to 1990's “BEST SEX I'VE EVER HAD,” a quote attributed to Marla Maples, who at the time was rumored to be Trump's mistress and later became his second wife.

The latest cover is significantly less flattering than the original. Additional text on Wednesday's tabloid cover describes Trump's “reality-show presidency,” rather than his reputation as a “tiger in the corporate boardroom” and, supposedly, a “wildcat in the bedroom, too.”

More broadly, the difference between the two covers, published 28 years apart, illustrates an evolution at the president's favorite tabloid — owned by Rupert Murdoch, who calls Trump a friend. Susan Mulcahy, a former editor of the New York Post's gossipy Page Six, penned a 2016 “confession” in which she apologized for having “helped make the myth of Donald Trump” through coverage that portrayed him as a larger-than-life figure. The paper endorsed Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

But the New York Post conspicuously withheld its endorsement in the general election later that year and since Trump's inauguration has published covers that cut down the president at least as often as it has printed ones that build him up.

Mocking and criticizing Trump is not new to the New York Post, which called the billionaire's White House bid “toast” after just one month of campaigning.

But Trump later appeared to have won over Murdoch and his newspaper, which put a positive spin on Trump's uninspiring performance in the first general-election debate of 2016 and reinforced Trump's desired image as a political outsider who would “drain the swamp.”

The tabloid's covers have not been so favorable, of late. Wednesday's “WORST REX” headline is merely the latest example.