Der Spiegel Cover of Trump Beheading Lady Liberty Causes Uproar

The artist behind the illustration for the latest issue of the German magazine came to the United States as a political refugee from Cuba in 1980.

U.S. President Donald Trump depicted beheading the Statue of Liberty in this illustration on the cover of German news magazine Der Spiegel.
HANDOUT/REUTERS

German weekly magazine Der Spiegel sparked controversy at home and abroad on Saturday with a front cover illustration of U.S. President Donald Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty.

It depicts a cartoon figure of Trump with a bloodied knife in one hand and the statue's head, dripping with blood, in the other. It carries the caption: "America First."

The artist who designed the cover, Edel Rodriguez, a Cuban who came to the United States in 1980 as a political refugee, told The Washington Post: "It's a beheading of democracy, a beheading of a sacred symbol."

The cover set off a debate on Twitter and in German and international media, with Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a member of Germany's Free Democrats (FDP) and vice president of the European Parliament, describing it as "tasteless."

A man holds a sign depicting the cover of the German magazine Der Spiegel during a rally against Trump's executive order in Denver, Colorado, February 4, 2017.
Brennan Linsley/AP

The cover follows a series of attacks on Berlin's policies by Trump and his aides, marking a rapid deterioration in German relations with the United States. Chancellor Angela Merkel was the go-to European ally for former U.S. president Barack Obama, who praised her as "an outstanding partner."

Last month, Trump said Merkel had made a "catastrophic mistake" with her open-door migration policy, and this week his top trade adviser said Germany was using a "grossly undervalued" euro to gain advantage over the United States and its European partners.

No one was available for comment on the Spiegel cover at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.