Shortly a year after lambasting Time magazine for choosing “the person who is ruining Germany,” as Person of the Year for 2015, President-elect Donald Trump said it is a “very, very great honor” to have been selected for 2016.
“It means a lot, especially with me growing up reading Time magazine,” he told NBC’s Matt Lauer. “It’s a very important magazine.”
The choice wasn’t easy, and Time Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs admits the decision was not reached without argument.
“When have we ever seen a single individual who has so defied expectations, broken the rules, violated norms, beaten not one, but two political parties on the way to winning an election that he entered with 100-1 odds against him?” asked Gibbs. “I don’t think that we have ever seen one person operating in such an unconventional way have an impact on the events of the year.”
Gibbs explained that Time’s Person of the Year is awarded to whomever had the most significant influence on events – for better or worse – and admitted that Hillary Clinton was the runner-up. Other considerations included Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a generalized recognition of “hackers,” and Beyoncé.
In Trump’s opinion, the only problem with the magazine’s decision was the subtitle “President of the Divided States of America” beneath Trump’s name. He calls the phrase “snarky,” insisting that since he has yet to become president he cannot be blammed for such division.
“There’s a lot of division, and we’re going to put it back together and we’re going to have a country that’s very well healed. We’re going to be a great economic force and we’re going to build up our military and safety and we’re going to do a lot of great things,” he said.
Trump then surprised Lauer by admitting that he had received some great advice from a surprising source: President Obama. “We obviously very much disagree on certain policies and certain things, but, you know, I really like him as a person,” said Trump of the current president.
According to Trump, the two of them have “good chemistry” and have discussed possible administration appointments and how to address some of the biggest challenges currently facing the nation. “I never met him before this,” said Trump. “I never spoke to him before this…I love getting his ideas.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s unique transition continues with more additions to his cabinet. He still hasn’t chosen a secretary, but he admitted Wednesday that he had crossed a few names off the list.
Trump confirmed that 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is still on the list. “We had some tremendous difficulty together and now I think we’ve come a long way,” said Trump. “I’m able to put this stuff behind us.”
Trump also spoke of his oft-criticized use of Twitter, defending the social media tool as “a modern-day form of communication.” The President-elect insists that Twitter and Facebook are more effective than traditional media because he can share honest information without having to deal with “dishonest reporters.”