Time names Trump its ‘Per­son of the Year’ ‘Pres­i­dent of the Di­vided States of Amer­ica’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Time mag­a­zine yes­ter­day named Don­ald Trump its “Per­son of the Year” for 2016 for his stun­ning up­set elec­tion vic­tory that rewrote the rules of pol­i­tics, de­liv­er­ing him to the helm of a di­vided Amer­ica. The pres­i­dent-elect di­aled into NBC tele­vi­sion’s To­day show, wel­com­ing the ac­co­lade as a “very, very great honor,” deny­ing he was re­spon­si­ble for di­vi­sions and prais­ing out­go­ing Demo­cratic Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

The real es­tate ty­coon, who has never pre­vi­ously held elected of­fice and shocked the po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment by de­feat­ing his Demo­cratic ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton, is fea­tured on Time’s cover de­scribed as “Don­ald Trump: Pres­i­dent of the Di­vided States of Amer­ica.” The mag­a­zine said its per­son of the year, a tra­di­tion that be­gan in 1927, “had the great­est in­flu­ence, for bet­ter or worse, on the events of the year.”

“So which is it this year: bet­ter or worse?” edi­tor-in-chief Nancy Gibbs wrote. “The chal­lenge for Don­ald Trump is how pro­foundly the coun­try dis­agrees about the an­swer.” She said 2016 had been the year of his rise and 2017 would be the year of his rule, af­ter he is sworn into of­fice on Jan­uary 20. “Like all newly elected lead­ers, he has a chance to ful­fill prom­ises and defy ex­pec­ta­tions,” said Gibbs.

Trump won the ti­tle, she added, 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.” In the past Time has showed its ed­i­to­rial teeth by nam­ing sin­is­ter fig­ures Adolf Hitler in 1938 and Joseph Stalin both in 1939 and 1942.

The pres­i­dent-elect told NBC’s To­day show that he thought the sub-head­ing on the front cover about a di­vided Amer­ica was “snarky” and de­nied that it was his fault. “I’m not pres­i­dent yet so I didn’t do any­thing to di­vide,” he said, de­spite hav­ing in­flamed the coun­try by cam­paign rhetoric dis­parag­ing women, il­le­gal im­mi­grants and Mus­lims among oth­ers.

Takes Obama’s ad­vice

For years he crit­i­cized Obama and was in­stru­men­tal in the so-called “birther” move­ment that ques­tioned whether the first black pres­i­dent was born in the United States. “I will say this: I’ve now got­ten to know Pres­i­dent Obama, I re­ally like him,” Trump told NBC on Wed­nes­day. “I can’t speak for him, but we have a re­ally good chem­istry to­gether. We talked,” he said. “He loves the coun­try, he wants to do right by the coun­try and for the coun­try and I will tell you, we ob­vi­ously very much dis­agree on cer­tain poli­cies and cer­tain things, but I re­ally like him,” he added. The bil­lion­aire even said that he dis­cussed some of his pos­si­ble ap­point­ments with the out­go­ing Demo­cratic pres­i­dent. “I take his rec­om­men­da­tions very se­ri­ously and there are some peo­ple that I will be ap­point­ing and in one case have ap­pointed where he thought very highly of that per­son,” Trump said.

Clin­ton, the for­mer sec­re­tary of state who be­came the clos­est in his­tory to be­com­ing Amer­ica’s first fe­male com­man­der in chief, was named the run­ner-up, with com­puter hack­ers in third place. The for­mer first lady won the pop­u­lar vote with around 2.7 mil­lion more votes than Trump, but the Repub­li­can won the cru­cial Elec­toral Col­lege by 306 to 232. Trump cam­paigned hard on a prom­ise of bring­ing back jobs with the old man­u­fac­tur­ing heart­land hard hit by com­pa­nies flee­ing over­seas and tak­ing jobs to cheaper la­bor mar­kets in China or Mex­ico.

Trump told Time in an in­ter­view that he asked Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook to build in the United States “a great plant, your big­gest and your best, even if it’s only a foot by a foot big­ger than some place in China.” He also ad­dressed rep­re­sent­ing work­ing class Amer­i­cans de­spite his lav­ish wealth, liv­ing in a lux­u­ri­ous Man­hat­tan pen­t­house. “I’m sit­ting in an apart­ment the likes of which no­body’s ever seen. And yet I rep­re­sent the work­ers of the world. And they love me and I love them,” he told the mag­a­zine. “I think peo­ple as­pire to do things. And they as­pire to watch peo­ple. I don’t think they want to see the pres­i­dent car­ry­ing his lug­gage out of Air Force One. And that’s pretty much the way it is,” he said.

—AFP

This photo ob­tained cour­tesy of TIME shows US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump as Per­son of the Year cover.

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