On November 24, President Donald Trump claimed on Twitter that he had been approached to be TIME’s Person of the Year but had turned it down.
And though Trump wouldn’t be an altogether surprising choice, given that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin have previously been selected for the title, after the announcement of TIME’s selection for Person of the Year, we can be 100 percent certain that Trump was never on the table.
Instead, they chose the “Silence Breakers,” women who helped empower victims of sexual assault and harassment to speak out against their abusers. Men like Louis C. K., Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, and Danny Masterson.
The significance of this selection is not small. Less than 20 years after TIME transitioned from awarding Man of the Year to Person of the Year, a cover of women is highlighting the injustices women face in America. Even though, as the Washington Post highlighted, no American woman has been selected by herself as the Person of the Year in 80 years. Though highlighting inequality and advocating for justice, the magazine has yet to balance the scales between men and women being honored on their covers.
The full article covers efforts made throughout the year, from the Women’s March in January, to Taylor Swift’s $1 lawsuit, to the #MeToo movement that dominated the internet in October. The Silence Breakers are people involved in these efforts, who were brave enough to break the silence.
It’s because of these individuals that sexual assault is in the national spotlight right now. And not just for women — Terry Crews was highlighted for his actions in speaking out against his agent, who had groped him.
The irony of Trump’s claim about being approached for Person of the Year, is that Trump’s treatment of women is a key part of the narrative in TIME’s front page piece: the Women’s March which took place the day after his inauguration, his targeting of Megyn Kelley during his campaign, the almost two-dozen women who brought claims of sexual harassment against him, and his recent endorsement of Roy Moore.
Or, at least, that's what I thought until TIME released a piece saying that Trump was actually a runner up for the title.
Though they deny, again, within the article that they approached him about it, TIME went into detail on why they almost awarded POTUS 45 the title of Person of the Year for the second year in a row. Another disheartening piece of information for victims who may have felt championed by TIME.
This selection for Person of the Year is an inspiration for victims everywhere, and yet another much-needed check on the U.S. president’s self-importance, but not a badge of honor for TIME.