President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are closer than ever in a 'creepy' new Time magazine cover.
The world leaders' faces were merged to create one eerie Trump-Putin love child on the magazine's July 30 print edition.
Time also tweeted a 19-second animated GIF which shows Trump slowing morphing into Putin, then back to Trump before ending on the combination photo.
The early peek at the magazine's cover was released just days after Trump and Putin's deeply controversial summit in Helsinki on Monday.
The president sparked outrage when he sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies, saying 'I don't see why it would be Russia' that interfered in the 2016 election. Just one day later, after facing furious backlash from both sides of the aisle, he was forced to make the biggest backtrack of his presidency.
Claiming he 'misspoke' at the press conference, Trump said: 'It should have been obvious... but I would like to clarify, just in case it wasn't. In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't.'
'The sentence should have been: I don't see any reason why I wouldn't — or why it wouldn't be Russia. So just to repeat it, I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't.'
Time's July 30 issue is the sixth time Trump has appeared on its cover this year.
Last month, the magazine faced its own backlash after it featured the president looking down at a crying two-year-old Honduran girl with the text 'Welcome to America'. The original photo of the girl, whose name is Yanela, had become a symbol of families separated at the border by Trump's zero-tolerance immigration policy.
It was later revealed that Yanela had not in fact been separated from her mother as suggested, and the White House attacked Time for the cover, claiming they were exploiting the child. Time stood by its cover.
Time has also run covers suggesting the close relationship between the Trump administration and Russia. Last year, its May 29 issue featured the White House turning into the Kremlin.
The latest cover accompanies an article on the two leaders' Helsinki summit and Trump's 'puzzling affinity for Putin.'
'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,' Time magazine writes.
Burson, who is renowned for her facial composition work which is used by the FBI to age missing children's photographs, said she hopes the picture will get readers to 'stop and think' about how similar the two leaders are.
'What my work has always been about is allowing people to see differently,' she adds. 'The combining of faces is a different way for people to see what they couldn't see before.'
The reaction on Twitter was one of horror.
'You've done it this time TIME! This is outright creepy, as reflects the reality,' one user wrote.
'Strong work creating that nightmare factory,' another wrote.
While some criticized the magazine, saying it was 'propaganda at it's finest.'
'I never thought I'd see the day where our own media is rivaling North Korea's,' one Twitter user wrote.
There was a flurry of memes and GIFs showing a laughing Putin, a Trump puppet and Trump as a Russian bride.
This latest cover is not likley to improve Trump's feelings towards the magazine, which he claimed would 'soon be dead.' But he did not always feel that way.
A fake Time cover featuring him the president has been proudly on display at several of his properties. He was named their Person of the Year in 2016, and wrote in November 2017 that he was 'probably' going to take the title again for 2017 but had declined it.
Time deny this.
Meanwhile, Trump is still dealing with the reaction to him siding with Putin over his own intelligence agencies.
Trump was raked over the coals for claiming that Russia had 'no reason' as far as he can see to have carried out an election hacking scheme that his own intelligence officials have linked to the Kremlin.
He said that while he has 'great confidence' in his intelligence officers, 'President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial' that it directly involved Russia.
As he weathered heavy criticism for fawning over the strongman who the U.S. intelligence community says was behind 2016 hacking, Trump declared victory in his Helsinki and NATO summits.
He settled on a regular target for characterizing his Putin presser as anything less than a success -- the media.
'While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way - the Fake News is going Crazy!' he said.
The usual suspects had torn into the president for complimenting Putin and siding against U.S. intelligence officers in their assessment that the Kremlin ordered the 2016 election disruption.
But Trump was also taking fire from Fox News hosts, including Shep Smith and Neil Cavuto, and members of his inner circle like Anthony Scaramucci and Newt Gingrich.
Former CIA director John Brennan had blasted Trump's press conference with Putin on Monday as 'nothing short of treasonous' in high profile remarks, as well.
He accused the president of being 'wholly in the pocket of Putin' and the presser 'rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.'
'It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???,' said Brennan, who served as the nation's intelligence chief when the meddling was occurring during the presidency of Barack Obama.
Trump roundly blamed the media for the failure of his summit, arguing that it was the 'fake news' that was blowing him up.
Yet, even his former White House communications director, Scaramucci, was advising him on Tuesday to 'reverse course immediately' and correct what he characterized on CNN as a 'major mistake.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.