08/17/2017 09:45 am ET Updated Aug 17, 2017

The Economist Sounds Off On Trump With Cover Showing KKK Hood As His Megaphone

The president is "morally barren and temperamentally unfit for office," states this week's cover story.

This week’s provocative cover of The Economist is one for the ages.

President Donald Trump uses a Ku Klux Klan hood as a megaphone in the illustration by Jon Berkeley, which accompanies the magazine’s damning cover story, “Donald Trump has no grasp of what it means to be president,” written by Economist staff.

The issue hits newsstands on Saturday, a week after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, exploded into violence. James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old who came to participate in the rally, is accused of ramming his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring 19 others. Two state troopers monitoring the rally also died in a helicopter crash.

Democrats and Republicans alike have criticized Trump over his response to the tragedy.

Trump initially blamed “many sides” for hatred and bigotry on Saturday, but was eventually pressured into condemning white supremacist groups specifically. However, on Tuesday, he defended rally participants and accused counterprotesters ― whom he referred to as the “alt-left” ― of also acting violently. He’s since aligned himself further with rally participants by decrying the removal of Confederate monuments.

“His unsteady response contains a terrible message for Americans,” the Economist editorial stated. “Far from being the saviour of the Republic, their president is politically inept, morally barren and temperamentally unfit for office.”

White supremacists and far-right extremists heard Trump’s defense of their rally loud and clear, and celebrated on social media following the president’s explosive press briefing.

Ex-KKK leader David Duke thanked Trump for his comments Tuesday, while white nationalist and so-called alt-right personality Richard Spencer praised the president’s message for being “fair and down to earth” 

The Economist editorial blasted Trump’s “heartfelt defense” of the white nationalist rally participants.

“Mr Trump has complicated the task of containing their marches and keeping the peace,” the editorial stated. “[His]s inept politics stem from a moral failure.”

“This is a dangerous moment,” the piece continued. “America is cleft in two.”

This week’s issue of The Economist hits newsstands on August 19.