Donald Trump claimed out of nowhere on Friday evening that Time Magazine had approached him about the possibility of being “Person of the Year” for 2017, and that Trump had declined the offer because the magazine couldn’t guarantee he’d win. Few observers believed Trump was telling the truth, and instead, many began asking questions about what other story Trump might have been trying to distract from. Now Time Magazine is hitting back at Trump in the Person of the Year scandal.
Trump started the fiasco by tweeting “Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year,” like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!” This led to immediate widespread pushback from the public, many of whom didn’t believe him, and many of whom suggested that Special Counsel Robert Mueller or Russian President Vladimir Putin should be Person of the Year instead. Ultimately, Time itself released a statement on the matter.
Time Magazine tweeted late on Friday evening that “The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year. TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6.” In other words, that’s a diplomatic way of accusing Trump of having lied. It’s still far from clear who might end up being the Person of the Year for 2017, but it’s a safe bet it isn’t – and never was – Trump. In the meantime, the bigger question is what “real” scandal Trump decided he needed to distract from when he created this faux-scandal.
Donald Trump created the Person of the Year dust-up just twenty-four hours after it was reported that his former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, had agreed to negotiate a plea deal against him. It’s unclear if Trump was trying to distract from that major story, or if he believes another ugly Trump-Russia bombshell is in the pipeline.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report