BERLIN 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".
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.
(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Alexander Smith)