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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are Time's 2020 'Person of the Year'

Corky Siemaszko
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Jill, and Democratic 2020 U.S. vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and her husband Doug, celebrate at their election rally, after the news media announced that Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election over President Donald Trump, in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 7, 2020.
Andrew Harnik | Reuters

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who defeated President Donald Trump in one of the most bitter presidential elections in U.S. history, are Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2020.

The selection was announced Thursday by NBC News' Lester Holt.

Trump, who continues to make baseless fraud claims and continues to challenge an election that has already been certified by all 50 states, was on Time's shortlist.

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The other contenders were Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's leading epidemiologist, who survived a White House attempt to discredit him; and the health care, postal and sanitation workers who put their lives on the line during the Covid-19 crisis, Time said.

Also on the shortlist, Time said, were the racial justice movements that organized nationwide demonstrations after the death of George Floyd in police custody, members of which Trump disparaged repeatedly as "thugs" and "anarchists."

But in the end, Time's editors decided that Biden, who was President Barack Obama's vice president, and Harris, the nation's first woman and first Black and South Asian American elected vice president, were the people who had the most influence on the world during a year when the presidential contest became for many Americans a referendum on Trump's much-criticized pandemic performance.

The U.S. leads the world in the number of infections, at 15.4 million, and coronavirus deaths, at more than 290,000, according the latest NBC News data and the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard.

Last year, Time picked teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg as its Person of the Year, much to Trump's dismay.

"So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem," Trump tweeted, adding that she should "then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill."

Time has picked a Person of the Year, originally called the Man of the Year, annually since 1927, usually an individual but at times a group or collection of people who had a major impact on the world.

In keeping with Time's tradition, Trump was the president-elect when he was named Person of the Year in 2016. His predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush were each named Person of the Year twice after their election victories.

Time editors in 2017 picked a group they dubbed "The Silence Breakers," the people who launched a national reckoning over sexual harassment by coming forward with accusations against powerful men like disgraced Hollywood film executive Harvey Weinstein.

Trump claimed that Time called him to say he would "probably" be picked for the second year in a row, but he said he "took a pass." Time said the conversation never took place.

In 2018, Time editors selected "The Guardians," four journalists whose work landed them in jail or cost them their lives — Jamal KhashoggiMaria RessaWa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo — and the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Maryland, the site of a mass shooting.

Trump, who was a runner-up, was not happy about that choice, either.

"I can't imagine anybody else other than Trump" as the selection, Trump said. "Can you imagine anybody other than Trump?"

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