Time reveals its Person of the Year shortlist and, yeah, Trump is on it

But then again, so is Colin Kaepernick

Published December 4, 2017 6:10PM (EST)

 (Getty/Eric Baradat)
(Getty/Eric Baradat)

Ahead of the the full announcement of its selection for its 2017 Person of the Year honor, Time magazine has made public its shortlist of worthy people and groups vying for the distinction. Given the title's recent wrangling with President Donald Trump, it was perhaps somewhat of a surprise to see his name included on it.

Last month, the president claimed via Twitter that, "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!"

The publication subsequently responded with its own tweet, suggesting not only did the president not have his facts straight, but that the Person (not "Man") of the Year process didn't actually work that way at all. "The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year," it wrote. "TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6."

Despite this back and forth, the president does appear on the shortlist, giving him at least a shot at taking the honor two years in a row, a feat heretofore only achieved by President Richard Nixon.

This would be a good time to remind you that Time doesn't just award Person of the Year to the good and noble among humanity, but to the most influential figure of the last 12 months. Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Putin and Ruhollah Khomeini all won once, while George W. Bush and Joseph Stalin won twice. Indeed, saber-rattling supreme leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un joins Trump on this year's shortlist.

In addition to those two leaders, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and Chinese president Xi Jinping are also among the finalist. Both have spent much of 2017 consolidating their power, arguably autocratic developments that have been cheered by the American commander in chief.

The rest of the list is filled out by less demonstrably horrible or aspiringly totalitarian figures. Erstwhile quarterback and full-time social-justice activist Colin Kaepernick is, presumedly much to the president's chagrin, among the finalists as is another Trump bête noire, special prosecutor Robert Muller. "Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins makes an appearance, as does Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is apparently in the running for his second POTY nod (he won in 1999).

Time, as it often does, also included two groups of people or movements in the shortlist. Dreamers, that is children who immigrated to this country illegally and remain under threat by the Trump administration, are noted, as is the general #MeToo movement that gained steam after several prominent men were accused of sexual misconduct.

This year's honoree for Person of the Year will be announced this Wednesday. Place your bets.

By Gabriel Bell

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