TIME magazine has been teasing its selection for Person of the Year for several days now. Would it be Hillary? Or Barack? Or even Vlad? But for those of us who have been living our lives anywhere besides underneath a rock, the magazine’s choice was never in doubt. This morning TIME confirmed the inevitable and announced that Donald J. Trump, the soon-to-be 45th President of the United States of America, was indeed its Person of the Year.
Trump, who was profiled in the issue by Michael Scherer, appears on the cover along with the title “The President of the Divided States of America.” Explaining their choice, Scherer writes: “In a country that seemed to be bending toward its demographic future, with many straining to finally step outside the darker cycles of history, he proved that tribal instincts never die, that in times of economic strife and breakneck social change, a charismatic leader could still find the enemy within and rally the masses to his side.”
That isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, and lest you think that TIME’s Person of the Year selection is an automatic honor, it isn’t. In 1998, then-Managing Editor Walter Isaacson wrote that the title is given to “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse." That would explain why Adolf Hitler famously appeared on the cover in 1938, followed by Joseph Stalin one year later.
Trump however, who loves nothing more than being on the cover of TIME magazine (even when his face is melting into a puddle of orange), is clearly super stoked on the selection, allowing himself to be interviewed by the magazine and posing for its cover. In the interview, Trump acknowledged the absurd contradiction at the heart of his election. “What amazes a lot of people is that I’m sitting in an apartment the likes of which nobody’s ever seen,” he said. “And yet I represent the workers of the world. I’m representing them, and they love me and I love them, and here we sit, in very different circumstances.” That is accompanied by a photo of Trump standing in his gold-plated, three-story penthouse apartment on the 66th floor of Trump Tower, and he’s right, we’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Runners up for Person of the Year included Hillary Clinton and Beyoncé, so, yeah.