On Nov. 24, President Donald Trump tweeted that he was turning down TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year honor.
“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!” he tweeted.
Trump was named Person of the Year by TIME in 2016 after winning the presidential election. It was TIME’s 90th time choosing a person of the year which had a list that included Hillary Clinton, The Hackers and Beyoncé.
The decision for person of the year was explained in an article titled “The Choice” by Nancy Gibbs. They choose the person based on who “had the greatest influence, for better or worse, on the events of the year.”
According to the article, measuring whether Trump influenced for “better or worse” was difficult because of how much the country as a whole disagrees with that answer.
Trump has a history, more of an obsession, with TIME Magazine and their Person of the Year honor. In 2012 he tweeted “I knew last year that @TIME Magazine lost all credibility when they didn’t include me in their Top 100…”
Trump tweeted later on in 2013 that the list of 100 most influential people is “a joke and stunt of a magazine that will, like Newsweek, soon be dead. Bad list!”
He did not make that list.
Besides the Person of the Year rants about TIME, Trump has also criticized it for being “paper-thin” in 2012 and “really flimsy like a free handout at a parking lot! The sad end is coming- just like Newsweek!” in 2013.
But in 2015, after Trump announced his run for presidency, when he was on the cover and called it “a great honor!”
In 2015, when he wasn’t TIME’s Person of the Year, he tweeted out that “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.”
He later tweeted that same day a thank you to the O’Reilly Factor for writing an editorial on why Trump should be named Person of the Year.
His views changed again in 2016 when he made the cover again and tweeted out to remember to purchase a TIME Magazine because he was on the cover.
Let’s go back to 2017 with Trump claiming he was probably going to be TIME’s Person of the Year. That claim proved to be false according to TIME.
“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,” TIME tweeted out the same day Trump made his claim.
So the president of the United States was claiming something that was not true and such a stupendous claim that the magazine had to correct him.
It was not the first time Trump has made claims that have been false. Politifact has calculated that Trump has made 101 mostly false statements, 154 false statements and 72 pants-on-fire statements.
So why did Trump claim to probably be the Person of the Year for TIME? Is it part of his obsession with being TIME’s Person of the Year? Or is it just another way Trump is distracting from his administration?
Alan Murray, TIME’s chief content officer according to CNN, tweeted hours after Trump made his claim: “Amazing. Not a speck of truth here—Trump tweets he ‘took a pass’ at being named TIME’s person of the year.”
Making false claims is not new for Trump and neither is his obsession with TIME’s Person of the Year honor.
Moss Brennan is a freshman journalism major from Durham, North Carolina. You can follow him on Twitter at @mosbren