It’s not unusual for a President to be named TIME magazine’s Person of the Year as almost every president has been awarded the title since the 1930s. Now, not only is Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ election win historic, so is their TIME title.
On Thursday, December 10, TIME announced the President-Elect was the person of the year with Harris, which makes it the first time a President and Vice President have received the award together. Donald Trump was on the shortlist but did not make the final cut.
This year, the Vice President was included due to the nature of Harris’ win as she is the first female Vice President, the first Black VP and the first Asian-American to hold the title. TIME editor Edward Felsenthal said that "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."
"Since 1927, TIME has picked a Person of the Year, usually an individual but sometimes multiple people who greatly impacted the country and world during the calendar year," the outlet explained.
Last year, The Person of the Year was Greta Thunberg, while Trump was given the title in 2016, and Barack Obama in 2012.
Although it’s very common for presidents to be given the title shortly after they win an election, not everyone was impressed with the choice given the coronavirus pandemic. "How are they the person of the year for 2020? What impact did they have at all in 2020 ... Give me a break," one user asked. "They gave Americans hope for the first time in almost 4 years. That’s why they are on the cover," another replied.
Biden described the election as a "do-or-die" moment and said, "Had Trump won, I think we would have changed the nature of who we are as a country for a long time."
"We're at a moment where we will be confronted by many crises that have converged. We're talking about a public health crisis, we are in the midst of an economic crisis, a long-overdue reckoning on racial injustice, and a climate crisis," Harris said. "We got a lot of things that we need to handle, and we will multitask to address them all."
The incoming Vice President made it clear that "while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last."
"And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they've never seen it before. And we will applaud you every step of the way," she concluded.
Others given a nod by TIME this year was LeBron James, who was named Athlete of the Year, Assa Traoré and racial-justice organizers were named Guardians of the Year, Eric Yuan, who founded Zoom, was named Business Person of the Year, Dr. Anthony Fauci was also Guardian of the Year and BTS was named Entertainer of the Year.