Trump relishes in return to Time magazine cover and lays out second-term agenda

In an exclusive interview with Time magazine, former President Donald Trump laid out an ambitious plan for the White House should he win his reelection campaign against President Joe Biden.

The Time cover, on which the former president has appeared more than 35 times, is a crown jewel for Trump, who has coveted the magazine for years. As Trump headed into court in New York on Tuesday morning for the hush money case against him, he thanked Time magazine for the cover, calling it “very nice.”

“I want to thank Time magazine. They did a cover story, which is very nice. And it’s actually, there is at least 60%, it’s at least 60% correct, which is about all I can ask for,” Trump said. “So I want to thank you everybody.”

Trump’s infatuation with the magazine became notable in 2017 when it emerged he had created fake Time magazine covers in five of his clubs in the United States and in his international properties. A spokeswoman for Time confirmed that the March 1, 2009, issues were not real issues from the news company and asked the Trump Organization for the issues to be taken down. 

Now, the wide-ranging interview at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on April 12 touched on how Trump would handle the growing surge of immigrants entering the U.S. illegally, the aftermath of the 2020 election, and what actions he would take to limit access to abortion.

On immigration, Trump said he would reimplement the Remain in Mexico program, Title 42, and begin a massive deportation operation to move over 11 million people in the U.S. The deportation program would rely on the National Guard and law enforcement rounding up immigrants who were illegally living in the U.S.


Trump appeared willing to override the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the military from being deployed against civilians.

“Well, these aren’t civilians,” Trump said. “These are people that aren’t legally in our country.”

Other advisers in Trump’s orbit echoed the former president’s sentiments in interviews with Time.

“People need to be deported,” said Tom Homan, former acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “No one should be off the table.”

On the matter of abortion, the former president reiterated his stance that abortion access should be left to states in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned.

Trump did not answer questions about whether he would sign a federal abortion ban, a stance that many people do not support, polls show.

“It’s irrelevant whether I’m comfortable or not,” Trump said when Time asked if he would be comfortable with states prosecuting women over getting an abortion beyond the law. “It’s totally irrelevant, because the states are going to make those decisions.”

The former president remained elusive on whether he would support legislation championed by anti-abortion allies, including the Life at Conception Act.

“I don’t have to do anything about vetoes,” Trump said when asked if he would veto the legislation. “Because we now have it back in the states.”

Trump was asked, “Do you think states should monitor women’s pregnancies so they can know if they’ve gotten an abortion after the ban?” His answer was equivocal.

“I think they might do that. Again, you’ll have to speak to the individual states,” he replied.

Abortion has remained a political cudgel for the GOP in recent elections that Trump has sought to neutralize by claiming the matter is now in the hands of states. While anti-abortion advocates have publicly disagreed with Trump’s stance, they remain staunchly behind Trump.

The Biden campaign, however, is seeking to make the 2024 election a referendum on Trump’s history on abortion. Mere hours after the Time interview was released, Biden’s campaign was out with a statement slamming Trump.

“Donald Trump’s latest comments leave little doubt: If elected he’ll sign a national abortion ban, allow women who have an abortion to be prosecuted and punished, allow the government to invade women’s privacy to monitor their pregnancies, and put IVF and contraception in jeopardy nationwide,” campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said.

A second Trump term would likely revamp how presidents interact with the Justice Department.

Trump claimed he could fire U.S. attorneys who refuse to cooperate with his directions to prosecute a person he wants to be prosecuted.

“It would depend on the situation,” Trump said.

Trump appeared unwilling to say directly he would fire Fani Willis, a district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, and Alvin Bragg, a district attorney in Manhattan, New York, who have both charged Trump since he left office.

“Well, we’re gonna look at a lot of things like they’re looking. What they’ve done is a terrible thing. No, I don’t want to do that,” he said.

He was also somewhat coy on whether he would appoint a special prosecutor to go after Biden.

“Well, it depends what happens with the Supreme Court,” Trump said. “Look, a president should have immunity. That includes Biden. If they’ve ruled that they don’t have immunity, Biden, probably nothing to do with me, he would be prosecuted for 20 different acts.”

The Supreme Court is weighing arguments from Trump’s legal team that presidents are entitled to immunity from prosecution after leaving office. The former president is facing 88 criminal charges across four criminal cases.

Two of those cases, one from Willis and the other from special counsel Jack Smith, deal with allegations Trump attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election and the subsequent Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Trump is in court in New York for one of these cases, the Bragg case, stemming from a hush money payment scheme to a porn actress during the 2016 election.

Trump’s supporters have claimed these charges are election interference and embraced Trump’s air of grievance. The former president has, in turn, shown support for those who were convicted during the riot.


“I call them the J-6 patriots,” Trump said. He also said he would “absolutely” pardon everyone who was convicted.

In addition to the interview at Mar-a-Lago, Time held a follow-up phone interview with Trump on April 27.

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