A tradition that began in 1927, the recognition is a marker of the most relevant and influential figures of the moment, as decided by the magazine’s editors.
President-elect Joe Biden, who set a new record by winning more than 81 million votes in the 2020 election, has attained another first by becoming the only former vice president to be named Person of the Year by Time magazine.
The annual recognition, which according to the magazine is awarded to “the individual or group of people who affected the news or our lives the most, for better or worse,” was announced on Thursday.
Chosen from a list of finalists that included the man Biden bested at the polls, President Donald Trump, the president-elect shares the spot with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“For changing the American story, for showing that the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division, for sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are Time’s 2020 Person of the Year,” said Time Editor-in-Chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal in the announcement.
“Person of the Year is not just about the year that was, but about where we’re headed, and the next four years are going to be an enormous test of them and all of us to see whether they can bring about a unity,” Felsenthal added.
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Other figures acknowledged by Time for their unique contributions to science, sports, politics, and the arts were Assa Traoré and racial-justice organizers, who were named Guardians of the Year, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was also named Guardian of the Year.
The selection of Biden and Harris deals another blow to Trump. The Republican incumbent, who continues to inflame his supporters with baseless claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him, as early as 2017 was asked by Time magazine to remove from his golf clubs fake covers of the magazine bearing his image.
Celebrating a Historic Win
Every elected president has been named Person of the Year at some point during their term, but this year added the vice president to the honor because of their particularly historic win, Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal said in a package introducing the winners. Biden, 78, is the oldest person to assume the presidency, and Harris is the first Black, Indian American and woman to become vice president.
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Last year, Swedish teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg was named Person of the Year, which prompted Trump to call the recognition “ridiculous” via his favorite mode of communication, Twitter.