Time On Trump’s ‘Person Of The Year’ Claim: ‘The President Is Incorrect’

Alex Brandon/AP

Time magazine responded on Friday to President Donald Trump’s claim that he had turned down the publication’s offer to be “Person of the Year” — “PROBABLY.” 

Trump tweeted Friday that the magazine had called to inform him he would “PROBABLY” be named “Man (Person) of the Year” — the title changed to “Person of the Year” in 1999 — but that he had turned down the offer because, he said, it would require an interview and a photo shoot, and because “probably is no good.”

The magazine, while not denying it had been in touch with Trump, said it “does not comment on our choice until publication.” 

And the former managing editor of Time, Richard Stengel, tweeted that “PROBABLY means you’re NOT Person of the Year.”

CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out that Trump’s aversion to interviews with news outlets as President may not have disqualified him from the top spot. Just two years ago, Stelter noted, German Chancellor Angela Merkel won the cover spot without sitting for a portrait nor an interview.

Trump was among the finalists for the top spot that year, according to Time. His fellow runners-up: Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the Black Lives Matter movement, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Uber founder Travis Kalanick and Olympic athlete and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, who that year had come out as a trans woman.

The then-candidate raged at his being overlooked, bringing it up at a campaign rally — “I’m never going to get it because I’m not establishment,” he saidand venting in a tweet.

The next year, Trump won his coveted prize, shortly after his shocking election.

The President’s obsession with Time is well-known. He said of his 2016 award: “It means a lot, especially me growing up reading Time magazine. And it’s a very important magazine.”

And, as Stengel mentioned, the Washington Post reported in June of this year that a fake Time cover featuring Trump had hung in at least four of his golf clubs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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