TIME magazine picked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for its Person of the Year over ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Donald Trump.
Merkel becomes the fourth woman to score the honor since 1927.
TIME’s deputy managing editor, Radhika Jones, wrote a piece explaining why it’s been 29 years since a woman got the cover.
“The label of Person of the Year tends to favor people with institutional power. The choice reflects TIME’s view of who affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill. Since 1986 there’ve been four U.S. Presidents in the mix—three of them two-termers, all of them men. Plus a handful of leaders of the Soviet Union (and Russia), also all men. The Pope keeps being a man. And it’s a lot easier to make news from an address like the White House, the Kremlin or the Vatican,” Jones wrote.
“Or the Chancellery. In naming Angela Merkel this year’s Person, we’re not actually breaking with tradition. The chancellor of Germany is the de facto leader of a continent and steward of the world’s fourth biggest economy. Merkel has been in office for a decade, emerging as a principled manager and a resolute diplomat.”
Managing editor Nancy Gibbs wrote that Merkel “brandished a different set of values—humanity, generosity, tolerance—to demonstrate how Germany’s great strength could be used to save, rather than destroy.”
“Germany would bail Greece out, on her strict terms. It would welcome refugees as casualties of radical Islamist savagery, not carriers of it. And it would deploy troops abroad in the fight against ISIS. Germany has spent the past 70 years testing antidotes to its toxically nationalist, militarist, genocidal past,” Gibbs wrote. “…It is rare to see a leader in the process of shedding an old and haunting national identity.”
The runners-up were Baghdadi, Trump, Black Lives Matter, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, and Caitlyn Jenner.
Baghdadi, the magazine said, “transformed the breakaway al-Qaeda group from a battlefield force operating in the chaos of Syria and Iraq into a transnational terrorist franchise killing civilians in more than a dozen countries around the world.”
The TIME article on Trump compared the GOP presidential candidate to Huey Long, Joseph McCarthy and George Wallace. “Each was denounced, like Trump, as a leader who appealed improperly to emotion and prejudice to gain power. Each was a master of the popular spectacle. Each terrified some and delighted others, testing the nation’s very identity.”
“I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite,” Trump tweeted. “They picked person who is ruining Germany.”
Gibbs noted on the NBC this morning that a presidential candidate has never been selected as Person of the Year. “If he thinks he deserves it, he has the whole next year to let the voters decide that,” she said.