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Trump Says He Passed On Being 'Person Of The Year.' 'Time' Says He's 'Incorrect'

Donald Trump holds a copy of <em>Time</em> magazine in January 2016 in Winterset, Iowa. His golf clubs have displayed fake <em>Time</em> covers featuring Trump.
Aaron P. Bernstein
Getty Images
Donald Trump holds a copy of Time magazine in January 2016 in Winterset, Iowa. His golf clubs have displayed fake Time covers featuring Trump.

President Trump took to Twitter Friday afternoon to say he passed on possibly being Time's Person of the Year because he didn't want to agree to an interview and photo shoot.

The magazine tweeted a few hours later that that wasn't the case:

Trump was named Time's Person of the Year last year, which he called a "tremendous honor" at the time.

The yearly title isn't necessarily a mark of praise but rather an acknowledgment of influence. "[T]he 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," a former managing editor of the magazine wrote. Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin have both been featured in the role.

The magazine started naming a "Man of the Year" during a slow news week in 1928, it says. The title became "Person of the Year" in 1999, though socialite Wallis Simpson was a "Woman of the Year" in 1937.

In June, The Washington Post noted that fake covers of Time magazine featuring Trump hang in at least four of his golf clubs.

The Person of the Year will be announced Dec. 6.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

James Doubek is an associate editor and reporter for NPR. He frequently covers breaking news for NPR.org and NPR's hourly newscast. In 2018, he reported feature stories for NPR's business desk on topics including electric scooters, cryptocurrency, and small business owners who lost out when Amazon made a deal with Apple.