Donald Trump

Donald Trump Is Time's 2016 Person of the Year

"It's a great honor, it means a lot," Trump said in a phone interview on "Today"

Donald Trump, who was elected the 45th president of the United States after a raucous and unprecedented campaign, is Time's 2016 Person of the Year.

The magazine announced its pick on NBC's "Today" Wednesday morning. 

The Manhattan real estate mogul went from fiery underdog to win the White House over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump won 306 electoral votes, easily enough to make him president when the electors meet on Dec. 19. Clinton won the popular vote.

"It's a great honor, it means a lot," Trump said in a phone interview on "Today." "Especially me growing up, reading Time magazine, it's a very important magazine. I've been lucky enough to be on the cover many times this year and last year."

Time chose Trump from a list of 11 high-profile finalists who have undoubtedly influenced news and the world in the past year, for good or ill. Time's managing editor Nancy Gibbs said Clinton was the No. 2 finalist.

"So which is it this year: Better or worse? The challenge for Donald Trump is how profoundly the country disagrees about the answer," Gibbs wrote in a magazine essay.

The Time cover reads, "Donald Trump: President of the Divided States of America" and the cover image features a photograph of the president-elect sitting in his private residence at Trump Tower.

Asked if Time's announcement was a compliment, Trump said, "When you say divided states of America, I didn't divide em, they're divided now … we're going to put it back together."

Time editors interviewed Trump on Nov. 28 at Trump Tower in New York City, asking him about how he connects with Americans, what he thinks about President Barack Obama and how he will measure success, among other topics. 

"I think we’re going to have a lot of jobs brought back," Trump said on measuring success of his presidency. "I think we’re going to have a lot fewer companies leaving our country. I believe we will be successful with defeating ISIS or bringing them down to a level where it’s almost the same thing. And I hope I’m judged from the time of the election, as opposed to from January 20th, because the stock market has had a tremendous bounce. And people are seeing very good things for business in this country. So I think we’re going to have a lot of victories."

This is Trump’s 10th time appearing on the magazine’s cover. All but one have been since August 2015. His first appearance on Time was in 1989, according to

"For reminding America 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," Gibbs wrote.

Olympic gold-medalist Simone Biles, Russian President Vladimir Putin and singer Beyonce were also on Time's shortlist for the 2016 Person of the Year. 

Four other world politicians were up for Person of the Year. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after a failed attempted military coup in July, fired thousands of state employees and closed news organizations in his country. 

Nigel Farage was the former head of the U.K. Independence Party and led the "Brexit" movement for Britain to leave the European Union. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has helped build his nation's economy but also banned India's two largest banknotes, which could have adverse effects.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ramped up his country's involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Simone Biles was the only athlete on the list. The 19-year-old gymnast won four Olympic gold medals in Rio de Janeiro and lead her U.S. team to the top.

Beyonce Knowles was also the only singer Time considered for the honor, after her record-breaking visual album "Lemonade," which she used to speak out about racial and gender inequality.

Other finalists included Mark Zuckerberg, whose Facebook reached 1 billion mobile daily users and was under criticism for spreading fake news and potentially influencing the U.S. election. The Flint Whistleblowers called attention to the lead-poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, and the CRISPR Scientists developed new technology to edit DNA, which could be used to cure diseases.

Last year’s Person of the Year was German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Trump was a runner-up.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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