Time Magazine named President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as its People of the Year on Thursday.
Bruce Springsteen, who narrated a television ad for Mr. Biden during the campaign, revealed the magazine’s pick at the end of an hour-long television special on NBC.
Mr. Biden, 78, the former Vice President under President Barack Obama, and Mrs. Harris, 56, a US Senator from California who was elected the first black woman and first Indian-American president to be elected to the vice presidency, will appear side by side in one Portrait on the cover of the magazine on December 21st.
They ousted frontline health workers (along with the country’s foremost infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci), the racial justice movement, and President Trump for the award.
Time had previously announced the four finalists for the recognition on the “Today” show.
“Time has always had a special connection with the presidency,” said Edward Felsenthal, editor-in-chief and chief executive officer of Time, on Thursday evening.
Mr. Felsenthal noted that this was the first time the magazine had included the Vice President as Person of the Year.
“The Person of the Year is not just about the year, it is also about where we are going,” he said. “The next four years will be a tremendous test for you and all of us to see if you can achieve the unity you promised.”
Mr. Biden, who appeared on a taped segment of the show, said that if Mr. Trump had been re-elected it would have changed who Americans were for a long time.
“That moment was one of those do-or-die moments,” he said.
Ms. Harris, who began the campaign as a presidential candidate, recognized the pressures she and Mr. Biden would face.
“We are in a moment where we are facing many crises that have grown together,” she said.
At a time when weekly print magazines were struggling to stay relevant in the media landscape, the marketing hype surrounding the purely ceremonial distinction has continued to create fanfare for Time.
The tradition dates back to 1927, when Time named aviator Charles A. Lindbergh as the first man of the year, as the honor was then called. The magazine, published in 1923, has bestowed the award on Presidents, Peacemakers, Astronauts, Popes and Queen Elizabeth II, American Women and the Endangered Earth. But some of the chosen newsmakers turned out to be notorious; Die Zeit selected Adolf Hitler in 1938 and Joseph Stalin in 1939, an award that Stalin was given again in 1942.
Time has determined, however, that the selection process is not a popularity contest. His choice reflects “the person or people who have best influenced the news and our lives, good or bad,” the magazine said in 2014.
Last year Time named young climate activist Greta Thunberg Person of the Year and chose her opposite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr Trump, Ukraine’s whistleblower and Hong Kong protesters.
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The election of Ms. Thunberg, who sailed across the Atlantic in an emission-free yacht before her speech at the United Nations climate protection summit last year, appealed to Mr. Trump. The President called Ms. Thunberg “ridiculous” on Twitter.
In 2018, the magazine selected a group of journalists that included the murdered Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi as Person of the Year. The magazine said it wanted to highlight the threats that independent journalists have faced at a time of so much disinformation. Journalists included staff from The Capital Gazette in Maryland, where five people were shot dead in June 2018.
Last year Time recognized “the silence breakers,” a group of women who catalyzed the Me Too movement when it stepped forward to accuse powerful men of sexual harassment and assault.
Before the magazine announced his election in 2017, Mr Trump bragged on Twitter that he was told he would be “likely” to be re-elected and claimed that he had declined recognition. Die Zeit quickly released a statement that the president was wrong. With his disgruntled victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Mr Trump was voted Person of the Year 2016.
The last three Presidents – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, each elected to a second term unlike Mr. Trump – have been named Time Magazine Person of the Year twice in office.
Nine presidents were selected by the magazine more than once, with President Dwight D. Eisenhower first recognized in 1944 for leading the Allies to victory in World War II as army general. President Franklin D. Roosevelt has been named Person of the Year three times.