Time magazine’s fawning cover of Joe Biden looking younger with Vladimir Putin in his aviator sunglasses is Twitter’s latest meme playground, with critics of the president breaking out of publication.
In Time’s tweet introducing the cover, the magazine wrote, “Biden takes on Putin,” sparking an onslaught of sharp jokes about the age of 78-year-old Biden and gifs of Putin laughing on Twitter.
“What the hell kind of fanfiction comic is this?” said one user.
Another tweet said the president looked like a “Hollywood movie villain.”
“He wears sunglasses because he sleeps,” said another Twitter user, playing Donald Trump’s snappy nickname for Biden “Sleepy Joe.”
Time published the cover as Biden prepares to meet with Putin at a summit in Geneva next week.
“Good luck to Biden in dealing with President Putin — don’t fall asleep during the meeting and give him my best regards,” Trump said in an emailed statement.
Time Magazine is under fire for its fawning cover of Joe Biden looking younger, with Vladimir Putin reflected in his aviator sunglasses
The cover elicited a torrent of jokes and jabs from the president’s critics
Another Twitter user said Time should have used the photo from the 1989 movie Weekend at Bernie’s, where two guys support their employer — who wears aviator goggles — and pretend he’s still alive.
Biden spent his first full day on a European tour on Thursday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
He will meet with world leaders in the coming week before sitting down with Putin in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
Biden and his officials have said they see his trip to Europe as an opportunity to reaffirm US leadership after Trump and his administration were accused by critics of being soft on Putin.
White House officials have not yet said whether the two leaders will hold a joint press conference.
The relationship between the US and Russia has been in the news throughout the Trump administration.
Based on the answers to the cover of Time magazine, Twitter thinks that won’t happen.
“Imagine an establishment stooge taking on a man who practically rebuilt the Russian state from scratch,” said one Twitter user.
A meme under the actual cover is an exact copy, except instead of Putin in the pilots, it’s a photo of Biden falling up the stairs to Air Force One in late March.
Biden played off that gaffe with a smile and saluted the reporters and photographers. He fell again in rainy weather in May and reacted the same way.
Beyond the Twitter rabbit hole of gifs, memes and criticism is the reason for the highly anticipated and polarizing meeting between Biden and Putin.
In 2018, Trump told reporters that he accepted Putin’s denial that his country was meddling in the 2016 election and sent officials to limit public relations damage.
“As president, I had a wonderful and very productive meeting in Helsinki, Finland, with President Putin of Russia,” Trump said in his message.
“Despite the belated coverage of the meeting by Fake News, the United States has won a lot, including the respect of President Putin and Russia.”
Intelligence agencies concluded that the Kremlin was trying to flip the election in Trump’s favor as part of an effort to undermine American democracy and install a weaker leader than Hillary Clinton.
But Trump said it was the meddling of his own country’s investigators that threatened to hinder his administration.
Trump was roundly convicted of accepting Putin’s denials of election meddling. US intelligence officials believe the Kremlin has been working to tilt the election in favor of Trump as the least threatening candidate to their interests
In a Wednesday speech from Britain, Biden said: “I’m going to the G7, then the NATO ministerial meeting and then to meet with Mr Putin to let him know what I want him to know.
Biden will travel around Europe for eight days and will meet with Putin in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, after meeting leaders of the G7, NATO and the European Union.
“We are not seeking conflict with Russia. We want a stable, predictable relationship,” he said.
“I’ve been clear: the United States will respond forcefully and meaningfully if the Russian government engages in harmful activities.”
If he sits down with Putin, Biden will face personal pressure on everything from attacks by Russian-based hackers on US companies to the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and covert Kremlin attempts to interfere in elections.
Back in the Twitterverse, Biden’s comments play out on a meme featuring the popular video game (turned into a recent movie) Mortal Combat with Biden and the White House on one side versus Putin and the Kremlin on the other.