Trump wins so big as TIME's 'Person of the Year'
Published Wednesday, December 7, 2016 7:41AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 8, 2016 6:34AM EST
Donald Trump is TIME Magazine's person of the year. Unbelievable. Huge. Good judgment!
"It's tremendous," the U.S. president-elect said after the announcement on NBC's "Today" show Wednesday morning.
"I've been lucky enough to be on the cover many times this year and last year, but I consider this a very very great honour."
The cover of the magazine refers to Trump as president of the "Divided States" – a suggestion Trump took issue with in the "Today" interview.
"I didn't divide them, they're divided now," he said. "We're going to put them back together."
Trump took U.S. politics by storm this year, dispatching a number of experienced and well-connected Republicans in the GOP primaries. After winning the nomination, he snatched the presidency from career politician Hillary Clinton in the general election, with a platform that spoke to Americans' feelings of fear and resentment. Trump won through the Electoral College system, despite losing the popular vote.
Clinton placed second on the TIME list, according to managing editor Nancy Gibbs.
Turkish President Recep Erdogan, Beyonce, hackers and CRISPR pioneers also made the shortlist.
In addition to losing the popular vote in the U.S. election, Trump also lost TIME's online reader's poll for person of the year to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the editors decided to give the title to Trump instead. "TIME magazine is not a democracy," Sam Jacobs, TIME's executive editor of digital, told CTV's Your Morning on Wednesday.
TIME named German Chancellor Angela Merkel the Person of the Year for 2015, which drew the ire of Trump at the time. Trump chirped TIME on Twitter last December, saying they would "never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favourite."
I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite They picked person who is ruining Germany— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2015
Behind the choice, 'for better or worse'
TIME's selection is not necessarily an endorsement, but an acknowledgment of influence, according to the magazine.
"Trump is poised to preside, for better or worse," TIME editor Nancy Gibbs wrote in an explanation of this year's selection process.
Gibbs summed up the selection in the following line:
"For reminding Americans that demagoguery feeds on despair and that truth is only as powerful as the trust in those who speak it, for empowering a hidden electorate by mainstreaming its furies and live-streaming its fears, and for framing tomorrow's political culture by demolishing yesterday's, Donald Trump is TIME's 2016 Person of the Year."
Jacobs said Trump was essentially a slam-dunk choice this year. "It was no debate," he said. "Donald Trump has had the most influence over the news."
Jacobs also stressed that Person of the Year is not an award or an honour. "It's not given out to the best person, it's given out to the person who had the most influence over our news, for better or worse."
The Person of the Year title includes a wide range of beloved and deplorable figures from history. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Francis are among the more well-liked figures to be named Person of the Year over the years. However, the title has also gone to such figures as Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Putin, Ayatollah Khomeini and Adolf Hitler.
Newly-elected U.S. presidents are often named Person of the Year, as was the case with Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
TIME also stretches the definition of the title, every once in a while, to include groups or ideas instead of single people. "The Computer" won "Machine of the Year" in 1982, "The Endangered Earth" won "Planet of the Year" in 1988, and "You" won Person of the Year in 2006. (Don't you remember?)
"The American Soldier," "Protesters," "American women" and "The Apollo 8 Astronauts" have also been recognized.
The president-elect refrained from trumpeting about the honour on Twitter Wednesday morning, but others were quick to choose sides in the "better or worse" debate.
"Person of the Year"— Stacy Washington (@StacyOnTheRight) December 7, 2016
So what. Keep crying liberals...#MAGA
Many also slammed TIME for the decision.
This Time, you've given 2016's Person of the Year way too much credit.— růt_rσαd (@LesTravold) December 7, 2016
Time named Trump person of the year. Another let down for 2016. I get it. They need to sell magazines but come on. #Time— Holly Bolton (@leighbolt) December 7, 2016
But amid all the cheering and handwringing over the choice, a number of sarcastic Twitter users were quick to point at that it's not really a big deal. After all, we were all People of the Year in 2006.
Also little known fact: I was voted Person of the Year in 2006. Go look it up.— Zach (@zyeags) December 7, 2016
People are often surprised when I tell them I was Time Person of the Year for 2006— Paul Russell (@paulrussell99) December 7, 2016
Congratulations to @realDonaldTrump for winning Time's Person of the Year! We all won it in 2006, but you know, yours is cool too and stuff.— Niri (@Nirikins) December 7, 2016